South of Tradition: Essays on African American Literature

South of Tradition: Essays on African American Literature

by Trudier Harris-Lopez
     
 

ISBN-10: 0820324337

ISBN-13: 9780820324333

Pub. Date: 11/28/2002

Publisher: University of Georgia Press


With characteristic originality and insight, Trudier Harris-Lopez offers a new and challenging approach to the work of African American writers in these twelve previously unpublished essays. Collectively, the essays show the vibrancy of African American literary creation across several decades of the twentieth century. But Harris-Lopez's readings of the various…  See more details below

Overview


With characteristic originality and insight, Trudier Harris-Lopez offers a new and challenging approach to the work of African American writers in these twelve previously unpublished essays. Collectively, the essays show the vibrancy of African American literary creation across several decades of the twentieth century. But Harris-Lopez's readings of the various texts deliberately diverge from traditional ways of viewing traditional topics.

South of Tradition focuses not only on well-known writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright, but also on up-and-coming writers such as Randall Kenan and less-known writers such as Brent Wade and Henry Dumas. Harris-Lopez addresses themes of sexual and racial identity, reconceptualizations of and transcendence of Christianity, analyses of African American folk and cultural traditions, and issues of racial justice. Many of her subjects argue that geography shapes identity, whether that geography is the European territory many blacks escaped to from the oppressive South, or the South itself, where generations of African Americans have had to come to grips with their relationship to the land and its history. For Harris-Lopez, "south of tradition" refers both to geography and to readings of texts that are not in keeping with expected responses to the works. She explains her point of departure for the essays as "a slant, an angle, or a jolt below the line of what would be considered the norm for usual responses to African American literature."

The scope of Harris-Lopez's work is tremendous. From her coverage of noncanonical writers to her analysis of humor in the best-selling The Color Purple, she provides essential material that should inform all future readings of African American literature.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820324333
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
11/28/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.89(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1Humor in Alice Walker's The Color Purple1
2Slanting the Truth: Homosexuality, Manhood, and Race in James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room18
3New Invisible Man: Revisiting a Nightmare in the 1990s (Brent Wade's Company Man and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man)31
4Zapping the Editor, Or, How to Tell Censors to Kiss Off without Really Trying: Zora Neale Hurston's Fights with Authority Figures in Dust Tracks on a Road51
5Architecture as Destiny? Women and Survival Strategies in Ann Petry's The Street68
6Chocklit Geography: Raymond Andrews's Mythical South91
7The Necessary Binding: Prison Experiences in Three August Wilson Plays121
8Hands beyond the Grave: Henry Dumas's Influence on Toni Morrison140
9Salting the Land but Not the Imagination: William Melvin Kelley's A Different Drummer149
10Transformations of the Land in Randall Kenan's "The Foundations of the Earth"160
11Expectations Too Great: The Failure of Racial Calling in Ralph Ellison's Juneteenth175
12Ugly Legacies of the Harlem Renaissance and Earlier: Soul Food and New Negroes196
Index217

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