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.
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.
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.
The Dialect of Modernism uncovers the crucial role of racial masquerade and linguistic imitation in the emergence of literary modernism.
Rebelling against the standard language, and literature written in it, modernists, such as Joseph Conrad, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams reimagined themselves as racial aliens and mimicked the strategies of dialect speakers in their work. In doing so, they made possible the most radical representational strategies of modern literature, which emerged from their attack on the privilege of standard language.
At the same time, however, another movement, identified with Harlem, was struggling to free itself from the very dialect the modernists appropriated, at least as it had been rendered by two generations of white dialect writers. For writers such as Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston, this dialect became a barrier as rigid as the standard language itself.
Thus, the two modern movements, which arrived simultaneously in 1922, were linked and divided by their different stakes in the same language. In The Dialect of Modernism, Michael North shows, through biographical and historical investigation, and through careful readings of major literary works, that however different they were, the two movements are inextricably connected, and thus, cannot be considered in isolation. Each was marked, for good and bad, by the other.
The lives and works of 100 black women novelists, short-story writers, playwrights, poets, essayists, critics, historians, journalists, and editors are chronicled in this book. All wrote between 1900 and 1945 and among those examined are Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham and Angelina Weld Grimke. Drawing on archival research and interviews, the book traces its subjects' contribution to literature, their concerns about race and gender, and their influences on their modern day counterparts in American literature. The book also explores the political, economic, and social awareness of the time.