Moorings and Metaphors: Figures of Culture and Gender in Black Women's Literatureby Karla Holloway
Pub. Date: 02/01/1992
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Moorings and Metaphors is one of the first studies to examine the ways that cultural tradition is reflected in the language and figures of black women's writing. In a discussion that includes the works of Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ntozake Shange, Buchi Emecheta, Octavia Butler, Efua Sutherland, and Gayl Jones, and with a particular focus on Toni Morrison's Beloved and Flora Nwapa's Efuru, Holloway follows the narrative structures, language, and figurative metaphors of West African goddesses and African-American ancestors as they weave through the pages of these writers' fiction. She explores what she would call the cultural and gendered essence of contemporary literature that has grown out of the African diaspora.
Proceeding from a consideration of the imaginative textual languages of contemporary African-American and West African writers, Holloway asserts the intertextuality of black women's literature across two continents. She argues the subtext of culture as the source of metaphor and language, analyzes narrative structures and linguistic processes, and develops a combined theoretical/critical apparatus and vocabulary for interpreting these writers' works. The cultural sources and spiritual considerations that inhere in these textual languages are discussed within the framework Holloway employs of patterns of revision, (re)membrance, and recursion--all of which are vehicles for expressive modes inscribed at the narrative level. Her critical reading of contemporary black women's writing in the United States and West Africa is unique, radical, and sure to be controversial.
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