Neither Black Nor White Yet Both / Edition 1

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Overview

Why can a white" woman give birth to a "black" baby, while a "black" woman can never give birth to a "white" baby in the United States? What makes racial "passing" so different from social mobility? Why are interracial and incestuous relations often confused or conflated in literature, making "miscegenation" appear as if it were incest? Werner Sollors examines these questions and others in Neither Black nor White yet Both, a fully researched investigation of literary works that, in the past, have been read more for a black-white contrast of "either-or" than for an interracial realm of "neither, nor, both, and in-between." From the origins of the term "race" to the cultural sources of the "Tragic Mulatto," and from the calculus of color to the retellings of various plots, Sollors examines what we know about race, analyzing recurrent motifs in scientific and legal works as well as in fiction, drama, and poetry. "Sollors limns the discourse on race that dominated the world that each text entered, and presents what passed for 'scientific' knowledge at the time, thereby shedding light on the cultural work accomplished by each novel or poem. He also shows how the same basic stories have been retold by different writers, each reshaping and transforming the tale in light of the racial politics of his or her own time ... Neither Black nor White yet Both, a stunning achievement, will be of interest to anyone who cares about race and culture." -Shelley Fisher Fishkin, University of Texas, Austin Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University. He is the editor of The Return of Thematic Criticism and thecoeditor of The Black Columbiad (both from Harvard)."
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Editorial Reviews

Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Sollors limns the discourse on race that dominated the world that each text entered, and presents what passed for 'scientific' knowledge at the time, thereby shedding light on the cultural work accomplished by each novel or poem. He also shows how the same basic stories have been retold by different writers, each reshaping and transforming the tale in light of the racial politics of his or her own time...Neither Black nor White yet Both, a stunning achievement, will be of interest to anyone who cares about race and culture.
Eric Sundquist
Any reader who thinks that novels, plays, and poetry devoted to the tragic mulatto, miscegenation, the code noir, passing, the curse of Ham, and other such themes constitute a mere subgenre in American culture will need to think again. Sollors proves, in voluminous detail, that the various William Faulkners and Nella Larsens now well know in academic circles rest on the vast, deep foundation of a national obsession.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674607804
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 596
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Black—White—Both—Neither—In-Between

1. Origins; or, Paradise Dawning

2. Natus Aethiopus/Natus Albus

3. The Curse of Ham; or, From "Generation" to "Race"

4. The Calculus of Color

5. The Bluish Tinge in the Halfmoon; or, Fingernails as a Racial Sign

6. Code Noir and Literature

7. Retellings: Mercenaries and Abolitionists

8. Excursus on the "Tragic Mulatto"; or, The Fate of a Stereotype

9. Passing; or, Sacrificing a Parvenu

10. Incest and Miscegenation

Endings

Appendix A: A Chronology of Interracial Literature

Appendix B: Prohibitions of Interracial Marriage arid Cohabitation

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2001

    Very good!

    My father is white and my mother is black. They are both American. I have a brother, Isaac and a sister, Victoria. We were raised to love ourselves and have high self-esteems. My brother looks more like my mother and many people can not tell that he is mulatto. They think his is full-blooded black. My sister however can 'pass' for white and I look totally mixed. I loved this book and I felt like part of the book was like my life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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