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Thus instead of literary history that invokes the same, shopworn links between old world and new, readers of To Wake the Nations will discover a not-so-subtle change in the frame of reference from Europe to Africa
This radical reconstruction of American literary history results in a dazzling if somewhat humbling experience for readers schooled in the European tradition. Sundquist's conscientious scholarship and immense learning set a high standard for future scholars that will not soon be matched.
— Jonathan Veitch