Wild Women in the Whirlwind: Afra-American Culture and the Contemporary Literary Renaissance

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"Pays an impressive tribute to the new renaissance in African-American literature." --New York Times Book Review

"The cultural and literary achievements of black American women are examined and celebrated in some 20 enjoyable, erudite essays by prominent scholars, critics, and activists." --Publishers Weekly

This book is the first comprehensive collection of critical and theoretical essays to explore the literary and multi-cultural traditions of Black American women in many genres over a broad span of time. The...
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Overview

"Pays an impressive tribute to the new renaissance in African-American literature." --New York Times Book Review

"The cultural and literary achievements of black American women are examined and celebrated in some 20 enjoyable, erudite essays by prominent scholars, critics, and activists." --Publishers Weekly

This book is the first comprehensive collection of critical and theoretical essays to explore the literary and multi-cultural traditions of Black American women in many genres over a broad span of time. The essays explore cultural and literary experience in a wide context and offer a variety of critical theoretical constructs in which to view that experience. The editors have written excellent introductions providing both historical and comparative discussions of the contemporary literary renaissance. The book also includes a valuable bibliography of selected English-language works by Black women in the Americas from the 1970s to the present.

Contributors: Angela Y. Davis, June Jordan, Gloria I. Joseph, David Ames Curtis, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Robert J. Fehrenbach, Daphne Duval Harrison, Billie Jean Young, Regine Altagrace Latortue, Calvin Hernton, Barbara Smith, Joanne V. Gabbin, Nellie Y. McKay, Barbara Omolade, Vashti Crutcher Lewis, Barbara Christian, Zala Chandler, Rudolph P. Byrd, Chinosole, Gale P. Jackson.

Joanne M. Braxton is Cummings Professor of American Studies and English at the College of William and Mary and the author of Sometimes I Think of Maryland, a collection of poetry, and Black Women Writing Autobiography: A Tradition Within a Tradition. Andree Nicola McLaughlin is Professor or Humanities at Medgar Evers College/CUNY andauthor of Through the Barrel of Her Consciousness: Contemporary Black Women's Literature and Activism in Cross-Cultural Perspective.

"Pays an impressive tribute to the new renaissance in African-American literature." --New York Times Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The cultural and literary achievements of black American women are examined and celebrated in some 20 enjoyable, erudite essays finds in Sojourner Truth an ``archetypal personage'' who fought battles that are still being waged today. Billie Jean Young recounts her development of a play about sharecropper's wife Fannie Lou Hamer, who in August 1962 joined 17 other blacks to register to vote in Mississippi. Daphne Duval Harrison focuses on Sippie Wallace, the ``Texas Nightingale,'' and her blues career, which peaked in the '20s. Barbara Smith, discussing black lesbians in fiction, analyzes fable-like elements in Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Nellie Y. McKay considers the nature of autobiography in reviewing the works of Zora Neale Hurston and Gwendolyn Brooks. Barbara Omolade calls for ``scholar-warrior-women'' to write their own history unfettered by Western tradition. Braxton is a professor of English at the College of William and Mary; McLaughlin, a professor of humanities at CUNY. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This book is a quilt of 25 essays by a diverse group of 23 scholars. In the main, the essays are successful because they go beyond ground already broken by works such as Conjuring (Indiana Univ. Pr., 1985) by presenting a cogent examination of an Afra-American aesthetic. The essays cover familiar territory from Harriet Jacobs's slave narrative to the eloquent voices of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, as well as undervalued works, e.g., Angelina Grimke's play ``Rachael.'' Many of the essays focus on the black female literary tradition as repository of ``womanist'' cultural, political, and historical imperatives. If diversity is this quilt's strength, it is also its weakest stitch; some essays are less scholarly than those by Angela Davis, Henry L. Gates, or Barbara Smith. But however uneven, these essays do present an abundance of information passionately communicated.-- Veronica Mitchell, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813514413
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1990
  • Pages: 470

Meet the Author

Barbara Smith
Barbara Smith

Barbara Smith is the host of a syndicated television series and appears regularly on NBC's Today show. She owns three B. Smith's restaurants in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Sag Harbor, New York, and is the editor in chief of the newly launched magazine B. Smith Style. She lives in New York City and Sag Harbor.

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