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Up from Bondage: The Literatures of Russian and African American Soul
     

Up from Bondage: The Literatures of Russian and African American Soul

by Dale E. Peterson
 

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ISBN-10: 0822325608

ISBN-13: 9780822325604

Pub. Date: 07/17/2000

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

During the nineteenth century, literate Russians and educated American blacks encountered a dominant Western narrative of world civilization that seemed to ignore the histories of Slavs and African Americans. In response, generations of Russian and black American intellectuals have asserted eloquent counterclaims for the cultural significance of a collective

Overview

During the nineteenth century, literate Russians and educated American blacks encountered a dominant Western narrative of world civilization that seemed to ignore the histories of Slavs and African Americans. In response, generations of Russian and black American intellectuals have asserted eloquent counterclaims for the cultural significance of a collective national “soul” veiled from prejudiced Western eyes. Up from Bondage is the first study to parallel the evolution of Russian and African American cultural nationalism in literary works and philosophical writings.
Illuminating a remarkably widespread cross-pollination between the two cultural and intellectual traditions, Dale E. Peterson frames much of his argument around W. E. B. DuBois’s concept of “double-consciousness,” wherein members of an oppressed section of society view themselves simultaneously through their own self-awareness and through the internalized standards of the dominant culture. He shows how the writings of Dostoevsky, Hurston, Chesnutt, Turgenev, Ellison, Wright, Gorky, and Naylor—texts that enacted and described this sense of double awareness—were used both to perform and to contest the established genres of Western literacy. Woven through Peterson’s textual analyses is his consideration of cultural hybridism and its effects: The writers he examines find multiple ways to testify to and challenge the symptoms of postcolonial trauma. After discussing the strong and significant affinity expressed by contemporary African American cultural theorists for the dialogic thought of Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin, Peterson argues that a fuller appreciation of the historic connection between the two cultures will enrich the complicated meanings of being black or Russian in a world that has traditionally avoided acknowledging pluralistic standards of civilization and cultural excellence.
This investigation of comparable moments in the development of Russian and African American ethnic self-consciousness will be valuable to students and scholars of comparative literature, philosophy, cultural theory, ethnicity, linguistics, and postcolonialism, in addition to Slavic and African American studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822325604
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
07/17/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.05(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.77(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Prologue:
Justifying the Margin: The Cultural Construction of “Soul”

1. Civilizing the Race: The Missionary Nationalism of Chaadaev and Crummell

2. Conserving the Race: The Emergence of Cultural Nationalism

3. Notes from the Underworld: Dostoevsky, DuBois, and the Discovery of Ethnic “Soul”

4. Recovering the Native Tongue: Turgenev, Chesnutt, and Hurston

5. Underground Notes: Double-Voicedness and the Poetics of NationalIdentity

6. Native Sons Against Native Soul: Maxim Gorky and Richard Wright

7. Eurasians and New Negroes: The Invention of Multicultural Nationalism

8. Preserving the Race: Rasputin, Naylor, and the Mystique of Native “Soul”

Epilogue:
Response and Call: The African American Dialogue with Bakhtin

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

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