Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
A National Book Award Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book
In 2004, they entered into a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Brother I'm Dying is an astonishing true-life epic, told on an intimate scale by one of our finest writers.
Winner of the 2017 Central New York Book Award for nonfiction
Finalist for the 2017 Chicago Review of Books Award
The first black woman to be named United States poet laureate, Brook's poetry, fiction, and social commentary shed light on the beauty of humanity, the distinct qualities of black life and community, and the destructive effects of racism, sexism, and class inequality.
A collection of thirty essays combining critical analysis and personal reflection, The Whiskey of Our Discontent, presents essential elements of Brooks' oeuvre--on race, gender, class, community, and poetic craft, while also examining her life as poet, reporter, mentor, sage, activist, and educator.
In Progress Compromised, John L. Glenn examines how African American literature engages in debates about the political and cultural tensions prompted by black social movements during the 1950s and 1960s. Glenn presents detailed case studies of four major novels that illuminate specific periods crucial in the history of African American political struggles, including campaigns for racial integration, the zenith of the civil rights movement, black nationalism, and the immediate legacy of the civil rights era. His analysis provides a nuanced understanding of black postmodern culture and shows how writers use fiction to postulate new modes of resistance and selfhood that defy societal constraints.In Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist, the first black female elevator inspector and her male counterparts reconsider their notions of what progress means for African Americans newly integrated into civil service and mass industry. Alice Walker's Meridian observes the novel's title character as she copes with the psychological distress experienced by activists participating in the civil rights movement, emphasizing how they bear the psychic and emotional weight of their struggle for equality. John Oliver Killens's satire The Cotillion; or, One Good Bull Is Half the Herd considers class stratification among black communities and social organizations by following the protagonists as they expose the biases of a society women's group, set against a backdrop of late-1960s black nationalism. Finally, Toni Morrison's Tar Baby concerns members of the post-civil rights generation who struggle to achieve self-renewal through introspection while confronting unresolved issues about racial identity and socioeconomic mobility. Progress Compromised showcases the discourse on black cultural politics circulating within late-twentieth-century African American literature, revealing how postmodern fiction investigates the effects of historical movements on individuals, their respective communities, and their efforts to resist social conformity and retain personal identity.--W. Lawrence Hogue, author of Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Narratives
Darwin T. Turner's "Introduction" (to the 1975 Liveright edition of Cane), reprinted here, presents the historical and literary backgrounds of the work, as well as additional biographical information on Toomer.
"Criticism," both contemporary and recent, on Cane and Toomer is wide-ranging and includes essays by W. E. B. Du Bois, Gorham B. Munson, Robert Bone, Patricia Watkins, Lucinda H. MacKethan, Nellie Y. McKay, and Darwin T. Turner.
This study traces the shaping presence of cultural interactions, arguing that American literature has become a hybridization of Eastern and Western literary traditions. Cultural exchanges between the East and West began in the early decades of the nineteenth century as American transcendentalists explored Eastern philosophies and arts. Hakutani examines this influence through the works of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. He further demonstrates the East-West exchange through discussions of the interactions by modernists such as Yone Noguchi, Yeats, Pound, Camus, and Kerouac.
Finally, he argues that African American literature, represented by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and James Emanuel, is postmodern. Their works exhibit their concerted efforts to abolish marginality and extend referentiality, exemplifying the postmodern East-West crossroads of cultures. A fuller understanding of their work is gained by situating them within this cultural conversation. The writings of Wright, for example, take on their full significance only when they are read, not as part of a national literature, but as an index to an evolving literature of cultural exchanges.
Destined to become a classic in the tradition of the best-selling Black-Eyed Susans/Midnight Birds and Erotique Noire/ Black Erotica. Afrekete gives collective voice to the tradition of black lesbian writing. In the vast and proliferating area of both African-American and lesbian and gay writing, the work of black lesbians is most often excluded or relegated to the margins. Afrekete meshes these seemingly disparate traditions and celebrates black lesbian experiences in all their variety and depth.Elegant, timely, provocative, and inspiring, the fiction, poetry, and nonfiction in Afrekete -- written in a range of styles -- engage a variety of highly topical themes, placing them at the center of literary and social discourse. Beginning with "Tar Beach," an excerpt from Audre Lorde's celebrated memoir Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, which introduces the character Afrekete, the collection also includes such prominent writers as Michelle Cliff, Carolivia Herron, Jewelle Gomez, and Alexis De Veaux. Other pieces are by Jacqueline Woodson, Sapphire, Essence editor Linda Villarosa, and filmmaker Michelle Parkerson, with other contributions by exciting new writers Cynthia Bond, Jocelyn Taylor, Jamika Ajalon, and Sharee Nash. Afrekete is a collection whose time has come. It is an extraordinary work, one of lasting value for all lovers of literature. A fresh, engaging journey, Afrekete will both inform and delight.
There has been a dramatic resurgence of interest in early African American writing. Since the accidental rediscovery and republication of Harriet Wilson's Our Nig in 1983, the works of dozens of 19th and early 20th century black writers have been recovered and reprinted. There is now a significant revival of interest in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s; and in the last decade alone, several major assessments of 18th and 19th century African American literature have been published. Early African American literature builds on a strong oral tradition of songs, folktales, and sermons. Slave narratives began to appear during the late 18th and early 19th century, and later writers began to engage a variety of themes in diverse genres.
A central objective of this reference book is to provide a wide-ranging introduction to the first 200 years of African American literature. Included are alphabetically arranged entries for 78 black writers active between 1745 and 1945. Among these writers are essayists, novelists, short story writers, poets, playwrights, and autobiographers. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a biography, a discussion of major works and themes, an overview of the author's critical reception, and primary and secondary bibliographies. The volume concludes with a selected, general bibliography.
Anyone who has seen a horror film or read a Stephen King novel is familiar with gothic tropes: dark villains who never tire of chasing hapless maidens; supernatural monsters; heroes who are sometimes weak; twisted, yet uncannily familiar, landscapes; the list goes on. Yet the gothic is more than a long list of tropes deployed to terrify. African American Gothic reveals the myriad ways African American writers manipulate the gothic genre to critique traditional racial ideologies. The book investigates fiction from each major era in African American culture, including Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Of One Blood, Cane, Invisible Man, and Corregidora, to show how the gothic-when revised-serves as a useful vehicle for the enunciation of the peculiar terrors and complexities of black existence in America.