cover of book
 

Writing across the Color Line: U.S. Print Culture and the Rise of Ethnic Literature, 1877-1920
by Lucas Dietrich
University of Massachusetts Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-1-61376-733-7 | Paper: 978-1-62534-487-8 | Cloth: 978-1-62534-486-1
Library of Congress Classification Z480.L58D54 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 810.98

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
The turn of the twentieth century was a period of experimental possibility for U.S. ethnic literature as a number of writers of color began to collaborate with the predominantly white publishing trade to make their work commercially available. In this new book, Lucas A. Dietrich analyzes publishers’ and writers’ archives to show how authors—including María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Charles W. Chesnutt, Finley Peter Dunne, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Sui Sin Far—drew readers into their texts by subverting existing stereotypes and adapting styles of literary regionalism and dialect writing.

Writing across the Color Line details how this body of literature was selected for publication, edited, manufactured, advertised, and distributed, even as it faced hostile criticism and frequent misinterpretation by white readers. Shedding light on the transformative potential of multiethnic literature and the tenacity of racist attitudes that dominated the literary marketplace, Dietrich proves that Native American, African American, Latinx, Asian American, and Irish American writers of the period relied on self-caricature, tricksterism, and the careful control of authorial personae to influence white audiences.
 
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