Abandoning the Black Hero is the first book to examine the postwar African American white-life novel—novels with white protagonists written by African Americans. These fascinating works have been understudied despite having been written by such defining figures in the tradition as Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Ann Petry, and Chester Himes, as well as lesser known but formerly best-selling authors Willard Motley and Frank Yerby.
John C. Charles argues that these fictions have been overlooked because they deviate from two critical suppositions: that black literature is always about black life and that when it represents whiteness, it must attack white supremacy. The authors are, however, quite sympathetic in the treatment of their white protagonists, which Charles contends should be read not as a failure of racial pride but instead as a strategy for claiming creative freedom, expansive moral authority, and critical agency.
In an era when “Negro writers” were expected to protest, their sympathetic treatment of white suffering grants these authors a degree of racial privacy previously unavailable to them. White writers, after all, have the privilege of racial privacy because they are never pressured to write only about white life. Charles reveals that the freedom to abandon the “Negro problem” encouraged these authors to explore a range of new genres and themes, generating a strikingly diverse body of novels that significantly revise our understanding of mid-twentieth-century black writing.
A hard-hitting look at the regulation of sexual difference and its role in circumscribing African American culture
The sociology of race relations in America typically describes an intersection of poverty, race, and economic discrimination. But what is missing from the picture—sexual difference—can be as instructive as what is present. In this ambitious work, Roderick A. Ferguson reveals how the discourses of sexuality are used to articulate theories of racial difference in the field of sociology. He shows how canonical sociology—Gunnar Myrdal, Ernest Burgess, Robert Park, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and William Julius Wilson—has measured African Americans’s unsuitability for a liberal capitalist order in terms of their adherence to the norms of a heterosexual and patriarchal nuclear family model. In short, to the extent that African Americans’s culture and behavior deviated from those norms, they would not achieve economic and racial equality.
Aberrations in Black tells the story of canonical sociology’s regulation of sexual difference as part of its general regulation of African American culture. Ferguson places this story within other stories—the narrative of capital’s emergence and development, the histories of Marxism and revolutionary nationalism, and the novels that depict the gendered and sexual idiosyncrasies of African American culture—works by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Toni Morrison. In turn, this book tries to present another story—one in which people who presumably manifest the dysfunctions of capitalism are reconsidered as indictments of the norms of state, capital, and social science. Ferguson includes the first-ever discussion of a new archival discovery—a never-published chapter of Invisible Man that deals with a gay character in a way that complicates and illuminates Ellison’s project.
Unique in the way it situates critiques of race, gender, and sexuality within analyses of cultural, economic, and epistemological formations, Ferguson’s work introduces a new mode of discourse—which Ferguson calls queer of color analysis—that helps to lay bare the mutual distortions of racial, economic, and sexual portrayals within sociology.
Contributors are Gregory G. Butler, Jen-Yen Chen, Alexander J. Fisher, Mary Dalton Greer, Robert Hill, Ton Koopman, Daniel R. Melamed, Michael Ochs, Mark Risinger, William H. Scheide, Hans-Joachim Schulze, Douglass Seaton, George B. Stauffer, Andrew Talle, and Kathryn Welter.
In Above Time, James R. Guthrie explores the origins of the two preeminent transcendentalists' revolutionary approaches to time, as well as to the related concepts of history, memory, and change. Most critical discussions of this period neglect the important truth that the entire American transcendentalist project involved a transcendence of temporality as well as of materiality. Correspondingly, both writers call in their major works for temporal reform, to be achieved primarily by rejecting the past and future in order to live in an amplified present moment.
Emerson and Thoreau were compelled to see time in a new light by concurrent developments in the sciences and the professions. Geologists were just then hotly debating the age of the earth, while zoologists were beginning to unravel the mysteries of speciation, and archaeologists were deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs. These discoveries worked collectively to enlarge the scope of time, thereby helping pave the way for the appearance of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.
Well aware of these wider cultural developments, Emerson and Thoreau both tried (although with varying degrees of success) to integrate contemporary scientific thought with their preexisting late-romantic idealism. As transcendentalists, they already believed in the existence of "correspondences"—affinities between man and nature, formalized as symbols. These symbols could then be decoded to discover the animating presence in the world of eternal laws as pervasive as the laws of science. Yet unlike scientists, Emerson and Thoreau hoped to go beyond merely understanding nature to achieving a kind of passionate identity with it, and they believed that such a union might be achieved only if time was first recognized as being a purely human construct with little or no validity in the rest of the natural world. Consequently, both authors employ a series of philosophical, rhetorical, and psychological strategies designed to jolt their readers out of time, often by attacking received cultural notions about temporality.
When The Absurd Hero in American Fiction was first released in 1966, Granville Hicks praised it in a lead article for the Saturday Review as a sensitive and definitive study of a new trend in postwar American literature. In the years that followed, David Galloway’s analysis of the writings of John Updike, William Styron, Saul Bellow, and J. D. Salinger became a standard critical work, an indispensable tool for readers concerned with contemporary American literature. The New York Times described the book as “a seminal study of the modern literary imagination."
David Galloway, himself an established novelist, later extensively revised The Absurd Hero to include authoritative discussions of more than a dozen novels which had appeared since the first revised edition was released in 1970. Among them are John Updike’s Couples, Rabbit Redux, and The Coup; William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice; and Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet and Humboldt’s Gift. Through detailed analyses of these works, Galloway demonstrates the continuing relevance of his own provocative concept of the absurd hero and provides important insights into the literary achievements of four of America’s most influential postwar novelists.
Described as “all under Heaven,” the Chinese empire might have extended infinitely, covering all worlds and cultures. That ideology might have been convenient for the state, but what did late imperial people really think about the scope and limits of the human community?Writers of late imperial fiction and drama were, the author argues, deeply engaged with questions about the nature of the Chinese empire and of the human community. Fiction and drama repeatedly pose questions concerning relations both among people and between people and their possessions: What ties individuals together, whether permanently or temporarily? When can ownership be transferred, and when does an object define its owner? What transforms individual families or couples into a society?Tina Lu traces how these political questions were addressed in fiction through extreme situations: husbands and wives torn apart in periods of political upheaval, families so disrupted that incestuous encounters become inevitable, times so desperate that people have to sell themselves to be eaten.
This rich collection considers the accordion and its myriad forms, from the concertina, button accordion, and piano accordion familiar in European and North American music to the exotic-sounding South American bandoneon and the sanfoninha. Capturing the instrument's spread and adaptation to many different cultures in North and South America, contributors illuminate how the accordion factored into power struggles over aesthetic values between elites and working-class people who often were members of immigrant and/or marginalized ethnic communities. Specific histories and cultural contexts discussed include the accordion in Brazil, Argentine tango, accordion traditions in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, cross-border accordion culture between Mexico and Texas, Cajun and Creole identity, working-class culture near Lake Superior, the virtuoso Italian-American and Klezmer accordions, Native American dance music, and American avant-garde.
Contributors are María Susana Azzi, Egberto Bermúdez, Mark DeWitt, Joshua Horowitz, Sydney Hutchinson, Marion Jacobson, James P. Leary, Megwen Loveless, Richard March, Cathy Ragland, Helena Simonett, Jared Snyder, Janet L. Sturman, and Christine F. Zinni.
Activist Sentiments takes as its subject women who in fewer than fifty years moved from near literary invisibility to prolific productivity. Grounded in primary research and paying close attention to the historical archive, this book offers against-the-grain readings of the literary and activist work of Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, Frances E. W. Harper, Victoria Earle Matthews and Amelia E. Johnson.
Part literary criticism and part cultural history, Activist Sentiments examines nineteenth-century social, political, and representational literacies and reading practices. P. Gabrielle Foreman reveals how Black women's complex and confrontational commentary–often expressed directly in their journalistic prose and organizational involvement--emerges in their sentimental, and simultaneously political, literary production.
Acts of Dramaturgy is a critical frame for Michael Pinchbeck’s The Shakespeare Trilogy, a recent touring project comprising three performances—The Beginning, The Middle, and The End—that explored the role of the dramaturg. This book sets the playtexts in dialogue with reflexive essays and provocations on contemporary dramaturgy from a range of contributors.
Weaving together different modes of writing, the volume reflects on the politics of dramaturgy, authorship, adaptation, performance, and the use of Shakespeare as a stimulus for making contemporary theater. The resulting work is as much a reflection on the entanglements of processes, lineages, and relations that have shaped the work and its reception as it is an exploration of ways of reflecting and being with practice now. A valuable new contribution to the study of contemporary dramaturgy, the book will be of interest to makers and scholars of theater and performance and anyone interested in practice research and creative critical writing.
American poets’ theater emerged in the postwar period alongside the rich, performance-oriented poetry and theater scenes that proliferated on the makeshift stages of urban coffee houses, shared apartments, and underground theaters, yet its significance has been largely overlooked by critics. Acts of Poetry shines a spotlight on poets’ theater’s key groups, practitioners, influencers, and inheritors, such as the Poets’ Theatre, the Living Theatre, Gertrude Stein, Bunny Lang, Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka, Carla Harryman, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Heidi R. Bean demonstrates the importance of poets’ theater in the development of twentieth-century theater and performance poetry, and especially evolving notions of the audience’s role in performance, and in narratives of the relationship between performance and everyday life. Drawing on an extensive archive of scripts, production materials, personal correspondence, theater records, interviews, manifestoes, editorials, and reviews, the book captures critical assessments and behind-the-scenes discussions that enrich our understanding of the intertwined histories of American theater and American poetry in the twentieth century.
Provides a new foundation for discussions about theater, film, and translations between the two mediums.
Adapting Performance Between Stage and Screen provides an introduction to adaptations between theater and film, establishing a framework for considering these as distinct from literary adaptation. The book places emphasis on performance and event, opening new avenues of exploration to include non-literary issues such as the treatment of space and place, mis en scène, acting styles, and star personas. The recent growth of digital theater is examined to foreground the “events” of theater and cinema—largely ignored in adaptation studies—with phenomena such as National Theatre Live analyzed for the different ways that “liveness” is adapted.
Drawing from case studies that explore distinct periods in British film and theater history, the volume looks at issues surrounding theatrical naturalism and cinematic realism and illustrates the principle that adaptations can't be divorced from the historical and cultural moment in which they are produced. Adapting Performance Between Stage and Screen explores how cultural values can be articulated in the act of translating between media, providing a new framework for the discussion of theater and film as dramatic works.
In Addressing Postmodernity, Barbara Biesecker examines the relationship between rhetoric and social change and the ways human beings transform social relations through the purposeful use of symbols. In discerning the conditions of possibility for social transformation and the role of human beings and rhetoric in it, Biesecker turns to the seminal work of Kenneth Burke.
Through a close reading of Burke's major works, A Grammar of Motives, A Rhetoric of Motives, and The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology, the author addresses the critical topic of the
fragmentation of the contemporary lifeworld revealing postmodernity will have a major impact on Burkeian scholarship and on the rhetorical critique of social relations in general.
Directly confronting the challenges posed by postmodernity to social theorists and critics alike and juxtaposing the work of Burke and Jurgen Habermas, Biesecker argues that a radicalized rereading of Burke's theory of the negative opens the way toward a resolutely rhetorical theory of social change and human agency.
In Adulterous Nations, Tatiana Kuzmic enlarges our perspective on the nineteenth-century novel of adultery, showing how it often served as a metaphor for relationships between the imperialistic and the colonized. In the context of the long-standing practice of gendering nations as female, the novels under discussion here—George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest, and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, along with August Šenoa’s The Goldsmith’s Gold and Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Quo Vadis—can be understood as depicting international crises on the scale of the nuclear family. In each example, an outsider figure is responsible for the disruption experienced by the family. Kuzmic deftly argues that the hopes, anxieties, and interests of European nations during this period can be discerned in the destabilizing force of adultery. Reading the work of Šenoa and Sienkiewicz, from Croatia and Poland, respectively, Kuzmic illuminates the relationship between the literature of dominant nations and that of the semicolonized territories that posed a threat to them. Ultimately, Kuzmic’s study enhances our understanding of not only these five novels but nineteenth-century European literature more generally.
Growing up beside the Chisholm Trail, captivated by the songs of passing cowboys and his bosom friend, an African American farmhand, John A. Lomax developed a passion for American folk songs that ultimately made him one of the foremost authorities on this fundamental aspect of Americana. Across many decades and throughout the country, Lomax and his informants created over five thousand recordings of America’s musical heritage, including ballads, blues, children’s songs, fiddle tunes, field hollers, lullabies, play-party songs, religious dramas, spirituals, and work songs. He acted as honorary curator of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress, directed the Slave Narrative Project of the WPA, and cofounded the Texas Folklore Society. Lomax’s books include Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, American Ballads and Folk Songs, Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Leadbelly, and Our Singing Country, the last three coauthored with his son Alan Lomax.
Adventures of a Ballad Hunter is a memoir of Lomax’s eventful life. It recalls his early years and the fruitful decades he spent on the road collecting folk songs, on his own and later with son Alan and second wife Ruby Terrill Lomax. Vibrant, amusing, often haunting stories of the people he met and recorded are the gems of this book, which also gives lyrics for dozens of songs. Adventures of a Ballad Hunter illuminates vital traditions in American popular culture and the labor that has gone into their preservation.
On a December morning in 1925, a newspaper journalist reported receiving 25 different handbills in an hour's walk in downtown Tokyo, advertising everything from Western-style clothing and furniture to sweet shops, charity organizations, phonograph recordings, plays, and films. The activities of advertisers, and the new entertainment culture and patterns of consumption that they promoted, helped to define a new urban aesthetic emerging in the 1920s.This book examines some of the responses of Japanese authors to the transformation of Tokyo in the early decades of the twentieth century. In particular, it explores the themes and formal strategies of the modernist literature that flourished in the 1920s, focusing on the work of Hagiwara Kyojiro (1899-1938) and Hayashi Fumiko (1903-1951). William Gardner shows how modernist works offer new constructions of individual subjectivity amid the social and technological changes that provided the ground for the appearance of "mass media." Hagiwara's conception of the poem and poet as an electric-radio "advertising tower" provides an emblem for the aesthetic tensions and multiple discourses of technology, media, urbanism, commerce, and propaganda that were circulating through the urban environment at the time; while Hayashi's work, with its references to popular songs, plays, and movies, suggests an understanding of "everyday life" as the interface between individual subjectivity and a highly mediated environment.
In The Aesthetics of Service in Early Modern England, Elizabeth Rivlin explores the ways in which servant-master relationships reshaped literature. The early modern servant is enjoined to obey his or her master out of dutiful love, but the servant's duty actually amounts to standing in for the master, a move that opens the possibility of becoming master. Rivlin shows that service is fundamentally a representational practice, in which the servant who acts for a master merges with the servant who acts as a master.
Rivlin argues that in the early modern period, servants found new positions as subjects and authors found new forms of literature. Representations of servants and masters became a site of contact between pressing material concerns and evolving aesthetic ones. Offering readings of dramas by Shakespeare, Jonson, and Thomas Dekker and prose fictions by Thomas Deloney and Thomas Nashe, Rivlin suggests that these authors discovered their own exciting and unstable projects in the servants they created.
What happens when the cerebral--that is, theories of literature and of affect--encounters the corporeal, the human body? In this study by Jane Thrailkill, what emerges from the convergence is an important vision of late-nineteenth-century American realist literature and the role of emotion and physiology in literary criticism.Affecting Fictions offers a new understanding of American literary realism that draws on neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Thrailkill positions herself against the emotionless interpretations of the New Critics. Taking as her point of departure realist works of medicine, psychology, and literature, she argues that nineteenth-century readers and critics would have taken it for granted that texts engaged both mind and body. Feeling, she writes, is part of interpretation.Examining literary works by Henry James, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thrailkill explores the connections among the aesthetic, emotion, consciousness, and the body in readings that illuminate lesser-known works such as "Elsie Venner" and that resuscitate classics such as "The Yellow Wallpaper."Focusing on pity, fear, nervousness, pleasure, and wonder, Thrailkill makes an important contribution to the growing body of critical work on affect and aesthetics, presenting a case for the indispensability of emotions to the study of fiction.
The surprising claim of this book is that dwelling on loss is not necessarily depressing. Instead, Jonathan Flatley argues, embracing melancholy can be a road back to contact with others and can lead people to productively remap their relationship to the world around them. Flatley demonstrates that a seemingly disparate set of modernist writers and thinkers showed how aesthetic activity can give us the means to comprehend and change our relation to loss.The texts at the center of Flatley’s analysis—Henry James’s Turn of the Screw, W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, and Andrei Platonov’s Chevengur—share with Freud an interest in understanding the depressing effects of difficult losses and with Walter Benjamin the hope that loss itself could become a means of connection and the basis for social transformation. For Du Bois, Platonov, and James, the focus on melancholy illuminates both the historical origins of subjective emotional life and a heretofore unarticulated community of melancholics. The affective maps they produce make possible the conversion of a depressive melancholia into a way to be interested in the world.
In Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, pianist Randy Weston and bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik celebrated with song the revolutions spreading across Africa. In Ghana and South Africa, drummer Guy Warren and vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin fused local musical forms with the dizzying innovations of modern jazz. These four were among hundreds of musicians in the 1950s and ’60s who forged connections between jazz and Africa that definitively reshaped both their music and the world.Each artist identified in particular ways with Africa’s struggle for liberation and made music dedicated to, or inspired by, demands for independence and self-determination. That music was the wild, boundary-breaking exultation of modern jazz. The result was an abundance of conversation, collaboration, and tension between African and African American musicians during the era of decolonization. This collective biography demonstrates how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how musical convergences and crossings altered politics and culture on both continents.In a crucial moment when freedom electrified the African diaspora, these black artists sought one another out to create new modes of expression. Documenting individuals and places, from Lagos to Chicago, from New York to Cape Town, Robin Kelley gives us a meditation on modernity: we see innovation not as an imposition from the West but rather as indigenous, multilingual, and messy, the result of innumerable exchanges across a breadth of cultures.
June 17, 2008, is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart by Heinemann. This publication provided the impetus for the foundation of the African Writers Series in 1962 with Chinua Achebe as the editorial adviser.
Africa Writes Back: The African Writers Series and the Launch of African Literature captures the energy of literary publishing in a new and undefined field. Portraits of the leading characters and the many consultants and readers providing reports and advice to new and established writers make Africa Writes Back a stand-out book. James Currey’s voice and insights are an added bonus.
Publishing and selling the African Writers Series
The African Writers Series Portfolio & George Hallett’s covers
Main dates for the African Writers Series
INTRODUCTION: The establishment of African Literature
Publishing Chinua Achebe
1. WRITERS FROM WEST AFRICA
Nigeria: The country where so much started
Negritude from Senegal to Cameroun
Magic & realism from Ghana, The Gambia & Sierra Leone
2. WRITERS FROM EASTERN AFRICA
Towards the oral & the popular in Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania
3. WRITERS FROM THE HORN & NORTH-EASTERN AFRICA
Emperors in Ethiopia
Publishing Nuruddin Farah
Arab authors in Egypt & Sudan
4. WRITERS FROM SOUTH AFRICA
Resistance in South Africa
Publishing Alex la Guma
Publishing Dennis Brutus
Publishing Bessie Head
Publishing Masizi Kunene
5. WRITERS FROM SOUTHERN AFRICAN
Guns & Guerrillas in Mozambique &Angola
Zambia Shall be Free
Death & detention in Malawi
The struggle to become Zimbabwe
Publishing Dambudzo Marechera
CONCLUSION: Is there still a role for the African Writers Series?
Satire's real purpose as a literary genre is to criticize through humor, irony, caricature, and parody, and ultimately to defy the status quo. In African American Satire, Darryl Dickson-Carr provides the first book-length study of African American satire and the vital role it has played. In the process he investigates African American literature, American literature, and the history of satire.
Dickson-Carr argues that major works by such authors as Rudolph Fisher, Ishmael Reed, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and George S. Schuyler should be read primarily as satires in order to avoid misinterpretation and to gain a greater understanding of their specific meanings and the eras in which they were written. He also examines the satirical rhetoric and ideological bases of complex works such as John Oliver Killens's The Cotillion and Cecil Brown's The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger—books that are currently out of print and that have received only scant critical attention since they were first published.
Beginning with the tradition of folk humor that originated in West Africa and was forcibly transplanted to the Americas through chattel slavery, Dickson-Carr focuses in each chapter on a particular period of the twentieth century in which the African American satirical novel flourished. He analyzes the historical contexts surrounding African American literature and culture within discrete crucial movements, starting with the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ending in the present. He also demonstrates how the political, cultural, and literary ethos of each particular moment is manifested and contested in each text.
By examining these texts closely within their historical and ideological contexts, Dickson-Carr shows how African American satirical novels provide the reader of African American literature with a critique of popular ideologies seldom found in nonsatirical works. Providing a better understanding of what satire is and why it is so important for fulfilling many of the goals of African American literature, African American Satire will be an important addition to African American studies.
Werner Sollors’ African American Writing takes a fresh look at what used to be called “Negro literature.” The essays collected here, ranging in topic from Gustavus Vassa/Olaudah Equiano to LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, and in time from the Enlightenment to the Obama presidency, take a literary approach to black writing and present writers as readers and as intellectuals who were or are open to the world.
From W.E.B. Du Bois commenting on Richard Wagner and Elvis Presley, to Zora Neale Hurston attacking Brown v. Board of Ed. in a segregationist newspaper, to Charles Chesnutt’s effigy darkened for the black heritage postage stamp, Sollors alternates between close readings and broader cultural contextualizations to delineate the various aesthetic modes and intellectual exchanges that shaped a series of striking literary works.
Readers will make often-surprising discoveries in the authors’ writing and in their encounters and dialogues with others. The essays, accompanied by Winold Reiss’s pastels, Carl Van Vechten’s photographs, and other portraits, attempt to honor this important literature’s achievement, heterogeneity, and creativity.
Decades after independence for most African states, the struggle for decolonization is still incomplete, as demonstrated by the fact that Africa remains associated in many Western minds with chaos, illness, and disorder. African and non-African scholars alike still struggle to establish the idea of African humanity, in all its diversity, and to move Africa beyond its historical role as the foil to the West.
As this book shows, Africa’s decolonization is an ongoing process across a range of fronts, and intellectuals—both African and non-African—have significant roles to play in that process. The essays collected here examine issues such as representation and retrospection; the roles of intellectuals in the public sphere; and the fundamental question of how to decolonize African knowledges. African Intellectuals and Decolonization outlines ways in which intellectual practice can serve to de-link Africa from its global representation as a debased, subordinated, deviant, and inferior entity.
Lesley Cowling, University of the Witwatersrand
Nicholas M. Creary, University at Albany
Marlene De La Cruz, Ohio University
Carolyn Hamilton, University of Cape Town
George Hartley, Ohio University
Janet Hess, Sonoma State University
T. Spreelin McDonald, Ohio University
Ebenezer Adebisi Olawuyi, University of Ibadan
Steve Odero Ouma, University of Nairobi
Oyeronke Oyewumi, State University of New York
at Stony Brook
Tsenay Serequeberhan, Morgan State University
African Literature in the Twentieth Century was first published in 1976. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This paperback makes available the major part of Professor Dathorne's The Black Mind.It concentrates on the writings of Africans in various African and European languages and provides insight, both broad and deep, into the Black intellect. Professor Dathorne examines the literature of Africans as spoken or written in their local languages and in French, Portuguese, and English. This extensive survey and interpretation gives the reader a remarkable pathway to an understanding of the Black imagination and its relevance to thought and creativity throughout the world.
The author himself lived in Africa for ten years, and his view is not that of an outsider, since it is as a Black man that he speaks about Black people. Throughout the book, a major theme is the demonstration that, despite slavery and colonialism, Africans remained very close to their own cultures. Professor Dathorne shows that African writers may be, like some Afro-American writers, "marginal men," but that they are Black men and it is as Black men that they feel the nostalgia of their past and the corrosive influences of their present.
O. R. Dathorne is a member of the Department of Black Studies and of the Department of English at Ohio State University. He has taught at universities in Nigeria and Sierra Leone and served as a UNESCO adviser in Sierra Leone. He also has taught at Ohio State University, Howard University, and the University of Wisconsin and lectured at Yale, Federal City College, Michigan State, and other universities in and out of the United States. He is the author of two novels and editor of a number of anthologies of Black literature, and has written widely in journals on his subject.
Reveals a century of political solidarity uniting Asians and African Americans
As early as 1914, in his pivotal essay “The World Problem of the Color Line,” W. E. B. Du Bois was charting a search for Afro-Asian solidarity and for an international anticolonialism. In Afro-Orientalism, Bill Mullen traces the tradition of revolutionary thought and writing developed by African American and Asian American artists and intellectuals in response to Du Bois’s challenge.
Afro-Orientalism unfolds here as a distinctive strand of cultural and political work that contests the longstanding, dominant discourse about race and nation first fully named in Edward Said’s Orientalism. Mullen tracks Afro-Asian engagement with U.S. imperialism—including writings by Richard Wright, Grace and James Boggs, Robert F. Williams, and Fred Ho—and companion struggles against racism and capitalism around the globe. To this end, he offers Afro-Orientalism as an antidote to essentialist, race-based, or narrow conceptions of ethnic studies and postcolonial studies, calling on scholars in these fields to re-imagine their critical enterprises as mutually constituting and politically interdependent.
An exploration of Francophone African literary imaginations and expressions through the lens of Afrofuturism
Generally attributed to the Western imagination, science fiction is a literary genre that has expressed projected technological progress since the Industrial Revolution. However, certain fantastical elements in African literary expressions lend themselves to science fiction interpretations, both utopian and dystopian. When the concept of science is divorced from its Western, rationalist, materialist, positivist underpinnings, science fiction represents a broad imaginative space that supersedes the limits of this world. Whether it be on the moon, under the sea, or elsewhere within the imaginative universe, Afrofuturist readings of select films, novels, short stories, plays, and poems reveal a similarly emancipatory African future that is firmly rooted in its own cultural mythologies, cosmologies, and philosophies.
Isaac Joslin identifies the contours and modalities of a speculative, futurist science fiction rooted in the sociocultural and geopolitical context of continental African imaginaries. Constructing an arc that begins with gender identity and cultural plurality as the bases for an inherently multicultural society, this project traces the essential role of language and narrativity in processing traumas that stem from the violence of colonial and neocolonial interventions in African societies.
Joslin then outlines the influential role of discursive media that construct divisions and create illusions about societal success, belonging, and exclusion, while also identifying alternative critical existential mythologies that promote commonality and social solidarity. The trajectory proceeds with a critical analysis of the role of education in affirming collective identity in the era of globalization; the book also assesses the market-driven violence that undermines efforts to instill and promote cultural and social autonomy.
Last, this work proposes an egalitarian and ecological ethos of communal engagement with and respect for the diversity of the human and natural worlds.
Badia Ahad-Legardy mines literature, visual culture, performance, and culinary arts to form an archive of black historical joy for use by the African-descended. Her analysis reveals how contemporary black artists find more than trauma and subjugation within the historical past. Drawing on contemporary African American culture and recent psychological studies, she reveals nostalgia’s capacity to produce positive emotions. Afro-nostalgia emerges as an expression of black romantic recollection that creates and inspires good feelings even within our darkest moments.
Original and provocative, Afro-Nostalgia offers black historical pleasure as a remedy to contend with the disillusionment of the present and the traumas of the past.
Alfred Hitchcock is arguably the most famous director to have ever made a film. Almost single-handedly he turned the suspense thriller into one of the most popular film genres of all time, while his Psycho updated the horror film and inspired two generations of directors to imitate and adapt this most Hitchcockian of movies. Yet while much scholarly and popular attention has focused on the director's oeuvre, until now there has been no extensive study of how Alfred Hitchcock's films and methods have affected and transformed the history of the film medium.
In this book, thirteen original essays by leading film scholars reveal the richness and variety of Alfred Hitchcock's legacy as they trace his shaping influence on particular films, filmmakers, genres, and even on film criticism. Some essays concentrate on films that imitate Hitchcock in diverse ways, including the movies of Brian de Palma and thrillers such as True Lies, The Silence of the Lambs, and Dead Again. Other essays look at genres that have been influenced by Hitchcock's work, including the 1970s paranoid thriller, the Italian giallo film, and the post-Psycho horror film. The remaining essays investigate developments within film culture and academic film study, including the enthusiasm of French New Wave filmmakers for Hitchcock's work, his influence on the filmic representation of violence in the post-studio Hollywood era, and the ways in which his films have become central texts for film theorists.
The fear of falling, the awareness of lost innocence, lost illusions, lost hopes and intentions, of civilization in decline—these are the themes which link literature to theology, both concerned with the shape of human destiny. Otten discusses the continuing viability of the myth of the Fall in literature. He relates a wide variety of romantic and modern works to fundamental issues in modern Christianity.
Ireland is suffering from a crisis of authority. Catholic Church scandals, political corruption, and economic collapse have shaken the Irish people’s faith in their institutions and thrown the nation’s struggle for independence into question. While Declan Kiberd explores how political failures and economic globalization have eroded Irish sovereignty, he also sees a way out of this crisis. After Ireland surveys thirty works by modern writers that speak to worrisome trends in Irish life and yet also imagine a renewed, more plural and open nation.After Dublin burned in 1916, Samuel Beckett feared “the birth of a nation might also seal its doom.” In Waiting for Godot and a range of powerful works by other writers, Kiberd traces the development of an early warning system in Irish literature that portended social, cultural, and political decline. Edna O’Brien, Frank O’Connor, Seamus Heaney, and Michael Hartnett lamented the loss of the Irish language, Gaelic tradition, and rural life. Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Eavan Boland grappled with institutional corruption and the end of traditional Catholicism. These themes, though bleak, led to audacious experimentation, exemplified in the plays of Brian Friel and Tom Murphy and the novels of John Banville. Their achievements embody the defiance and resourcefulness of Ireland’s founding spirit—and a strange kind of hope.After Ireland places these writers and others at the center of Ireland’s ongoing fight for independence. In their diagnoses of Ireland’s troubles, Irish artists preserve and extend a humane culture, planting the seeds of a sound moral economy.
This is the first book in English to analyze the Chinese literary scene during the post-Mao thaw in government control. The seven contributors originally presented their research at a 1982 international conference at St. John’s University, New York, which was attended by scholars from America, Europe, and Asia, including participants from the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.The special focus on popular literature—science fiction, love stories, detective fiction—reflects China’s new urban mass culture. These popular genres, plus the new “obscure” poetry, and the short-lived literary magazine Today are examined from an international comparative perspective and from a variety of viewpoints—literary, social, historical, political.Those social and political realities that help determine what books are on hand in China for people to read are discussed. The final chapter presents data on periodical sales, book sales, library borrowings, and readers’ stated preferences in large cities, with emphasis on Canton. Such investigations into what the Chinese public was writing and reading in the years 1978–1981 throw new light on Chinese social attitudes, ideals, morals, and taste.
Calling Samuel Johnson the greatest literary critic since Aristotle, Richard B. Schwartz assumes the perspective of that quintessential eighteenth-century man of letters to examine the critical and theoretical literary developments that gained momentum in the 1970s and stimulated the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s.
Schwartz speculates that Johnson—who revered hard facts, a wide cultural base, and common sense—would have exhibited scant patience with the heavily academic approaches currently favored in the study of literature. He considers it probable that the combatants in the early struggles of the culture wars are losing energy and that, in the wake of Alvin Kernan’s declaration of the death of literature, new battlegrounds are developing. Ironically admiring the orchestration and staging of battles old and new—"superb" he calls them—he characterizes the entire cultural war as a "battle between straw men, carefully constructed by the combatants to sustain a pattern of polarization that could be exploited to provide continuing professional advancement."
In seven diverse essays, Schwartz calls for both the broad cultural vision and the sanity of a Samuel Johnson from those who make pronouncements about literature. Running through and unifying these essays is the conviction that the cultural elite is clearly detached from life: "Academics, fleeing in horror from anything smacking of the bourgeois, offer us something far worse: bland sameness presented in elitist terms in the name of the poor." Another theme is that the either/or absolutism of many of the combatants is "absurd on its face [and] belies the complexities of art, culture, and humanity."
Like Johnson, Schwartz would terminate the divorce between literature and life, make allies of literature and criticism, and remove poetry from the province of the university and return it to the domain of readers. Texts would carry meaning, embody values, and have a serious impact on life.
The authors show that the “age of beloveds” was not just an Ottoman, eastern European, or Islamic phenomenon. It extended into western Europe as well, pervading the cultures of Venice, Florence, Rome, and London during the same period. Andrews and Kalpakli contend that in an age dominated by absolute rulers and troubled by war, cultural change, and religious upheaval, the attachments of dependent courtiers and the longings of anxious commoners aroused an intense interest in love and the beloved. The Age of Beloveds reveals new commonalities in the cultural history of two worlds long seen as radically different.
Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey have fascinated listeners and readers for over twenty-five centuries. In this volume of original essays, collected to honor the distinguished career of Emily T. Vermeule, thirty-four leading experts in Homeric studies and related fields provide up-to-date, multidisciplinary accounts of the most current issues in the study of Homer.
The book is divided into three sections. The first section treats the Bronze Age setting of the poems (around 1200 B.C.), using archaeological evidence to reveal how poetic memory preserves, distorts, and invents the past. The second section explores the early Iron Age, in which the poems were written (c. 800-500 B.C.), using the strategies of comparative philology and mythology, literary theory, historical linguistics, anthropology, and iconography to determine how the poems took shape. The final section traces the use of Homer for literary and artistic inspiration by classical Greece and Rome.
Essays that explore the rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world
The Babylonian Talmud (Bavli), the great compilation of Jewish law edited in the late Sasanian era (sixth–seventh century CE), also incorporates a great deal of aggada, that is, nonlegal material, including interpretations of the Bible, stories, folk sayings, and prayers. The Talmud’s aggadic traditions often echo conversations with the surrounding cultures of the Persians, Eastern Christians, Manichaeans, Mandaeans, and the ancient Babylonians, and others. The essays in this volume analyze Bavli aggada to reveal this rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world.
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