Spiritual Interrogations: Culture, Gender, and Community in Early African American Women's Writing [NOOK Book]

Overview

The late eighteenth century witnessed an influx of black women to the slave-trading ports of the American Northeast. The formation of an early African American community, bound together by shared experiences and spiritual values, owed much to these women's voices. The significance of their writings would be profound for all African Americans' sense of their own identity as a people.

Katherine Clay Bassard's book is the first detailed account of pre-Emancipation writings from the...

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Spiritual Interrogations: Culture, Gender, and Community in Early African American Women's Writing

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Overview

The late eighteenth century witnessed an influx of black women to the slave-trading ports of the American Northeast. The formation of an early African American community, bound together by shared experiences and spiritual values, owed much to these women's voices. The significance of their writings would be profound for all African Americans' sense of their own identity as a people.

Katherine Clay Bassard's book is the first detailed account of pre-Emancipation writings from the period of 1760 to 1863, in light of a developing African American religious culture and emerging free black communities. Her study--which examines the relationship among race, culture, and community--focuses on four women: the poet Phillis Wheatley and poet and essayist Ann Plato, both Congregationalists; and the itinerant preacher Jarena Lee, and Shaker eldress Rebecca Cox Jackson, who, with Lee, had connections with African Methodism.

Together, these women drew on what Bassard calls a "spirituals matrix," which transformed existing literary genres to accommodate the spiritual music and sacred rituals tied to the African diaspora. Bassard's important illumination of these writers resurrects their path-breaking work. They were cocreators, with all black women who followed, of African American intellectual life.

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Editorial Reviews

Signs - Joycelyn Moody
Spiritual Interrogations marks a change in the very direction of the multiple academic disciplines that intersect at black (women's) studies.
From the Publisher

"Spiritual Interrogations marks a change in the very direction of the multiple academic disciplines that intersect at black (women's) studies."--Joycelyn Moody, Hamilton College, Signs
Signs
Spiritual Interrogations marks a change in the very direction of the multiple academic disciplines that intersect at black (women's) studies.
— Joycelyn Moody, Hamilton College
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400822591
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/18/1999
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 192
  • File size: 267 KB

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction3Ch. 1The Daughters' Arrival: Histories, Theories, Vernaculars10Ch. 2Diaspora Subjectivity and Transatlantic Crossings: Phillis Wheatley's Poetics of Recovery28Ch. 3"The Too Advent'rous Strain": Slavery, Conversion, and Poetic Empowerment in Phillis Wheatley's Elegies58Ch. 4"Social Piety" in Ann Plato's Essays71Ch. 5"I Took a Text": Itinerancy, Community, and Intertextuality in Jarena Lee's Spiritual Narratives87Ch. 6Rituals of Desire: Spirit, Culture, and Sexuality in the Writings of Rebecca Cox Jackson108Ch. 7Performing Community: Culture, Community, and African American Subjectivity before Emancipation127Afterword: The Sacred Subject140Notes143Selected Bibliography165Index177
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