African American Literature
Richard Wright: Early Works (Loa #55): Lawd Today! / Uncle Tom's Children / Native Son
Richard Wright: Early Works (Loa #55)
Lawd Today! / Uncle Tom's Children / Native Son
Hardcover      ISBN: 0940450666
Includes Native Son, now an HBO original movie by Rashid Johnson, with a screenplay by Suzan-Lori Parks and starring Ashton Sanders.

Native Son exploded on the American literary scene in 1940. The story of Bigger Thomas, a young black man living in the raw, noisy, crowded slums of Chicago's South Side, captured the hopes and yearnings, the pain and rage of black Americans with an unprecedented intensity and vividness. The text printed in this volume restores the changes and cuts--including the replacement of an entire scene--that Wright was forced to make by book club editors who feared offending their readers. The unexpurgated version of Wright's electrifying novel shows his determination to write honestly about his controversial protagonist. As he wrote in the essay "How 'Bigger' Was Born," which accompanies the novel: "I became convinced that if I did not write Bigger as I saw and felt him, I'd be acting out of fear."

This volume also contains Wright's first novel, Lawd Today , published posthumously in 1963, and his collection of stories, Uncle Tom's Children, which appeared in 1938. Lawd Today interweaves news bulletins, songs, exuberant wordplay, and scenes of confrontation and celebration into a kaleidoscopic chronicle of the events of one day--February 12--in the life of a black Chicago postal worker. The text for this edition reinstates Wright's stylistic experiments, and the novel emerges as a far livelier work of the imagination.

Uncle Tom's Children first brought Wright to national attention when it received the Story Prize for the best work submitted to the Federal Writers' Project. The characters in these tales struggle to survive the cruelty of racism in the South, as Wright asks "what quality of will must a Negro possess to live and die with dignity in a country that denied his humanity." All five stories Wright included in the 1940 second edition are published in this volume, along with his sardonic autobiographical essay "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow."

Richard Wright was "forged in injustice as a sword is forged," wrote Ernest Hemingway. With passionate honesty and courage, he confronted the terrible effects of prejudice and intolerance and created works that explore the deepest conflicts of the human heart.

This Library of America edition presents for the first time Wright's works in the form in which he intended them to be read. The authoritative new texts, based on Wright's original typescripts and proofs, reveal the full range and power of his achievement as an experimental stylist and as a fiery prophet of the tragic consequences of racism in American society. The volume includes notes on significant changes in Wright's text and a detailed chronology of his life.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White
Black on White
Black Writers on What It Means to Be White
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0805241469

In this thought-provoking volume, David R. Roediger has brought together some of the most important black writers throughout history to explore the question: What does it really mean to be white in America?
From folktales and slave narratives to contemporary essays, poetry, and fiction, black writers have long been among America's keenest students of white consciousness and white behavior, but until now much of this writing has been ignored. Black on White reverses this trend by presenting the work of more than fifty major figures, including James Baldwin, Derrick Bell, Ralph Ellison, W.E.B. Du Bois, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker to take a closer look at the many meanings of whiteness in our society.
Rich in irony, artistry, passion, and common sense, these reflections on what Langston Hughes called the ways of white folks illustrate how whiteness as a racial identity derives its meaning not as a biological category but as a social construct designed to uphold racial inequality.Powerful and compelling, Black on White provides a much-needed perspective that is sure to have a major impact on the study of race and race relations in America.

Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing
Afrekete
An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing
Paperback      ISBN: 0385473559

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.
African American Authors, 1745-1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook
African American Authors, 1745-1945
A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook
Hardcover      ISBN: 0313309108

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.

African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places
African American Gothic
Screams from Shadowed Places
Hardcover      ISBN: 1137003502

This new critique of contemporary African-American fiction explores its intersections with and critiques of the Gothic genre. Wester reveals the myriad ways writers manipulate the genre to critique the gothic's traditional racial ideologies and the mechanisms that were appropriated and re-articulated as a useful vehicle for the enunciation of the peculiar terrors and complexities of black existence in America. Re-reading major African American literary texts such as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Of One Blood, Cane, Invisible Man, and Corregidora African American Gothic investigates texts from each major era in African American Culture to show how the gothic has consistently circulated throughout the African American literary canon.

African American Haiku: Cultural Visions
African American Haiku
Cultural Visions
Hardcover      ISBN: 1496803035

African American Haiku: Cultural Visions offers insights into African American poets' innovations in the haiku form, shedding light on a neglected aspect of black poetry.

Notable scholars present new interpretations of well-known works. Essays trace the verse of five major African American haiku poets: Richard Wright, James Emanuel, Etheridge Knight, Sonia Sanchez, and Lenard D. Moore. Sachi Nakachi investigates the influence of Japanese aesthetics and Eastern philosophy on Richard Wright's haiku showing Wright's interest in the blues as poetry. Yoshinobu Hakutani analyzes the vision and affinity of jazz and haiku throughout James Emanuel's Jazz from the Haiku King. And Claude Wilkinson digs into Etheridge Knight's improvisation and adherence to tradition of haiku and African American vernacular form. The collection also explores how Sanchez creates a new American hybrid form of the modern haiku in English by blending haiku with her own principles of a black aesthetic. Toru Kiuchi shows how Lenard D. Moore expresses his experiences through haiku with his African American aesthetics and connections to black southern culture.

By discussing multiple writers from a variety of disciplines in a single volume, the essayists compare and contrast the work created by writers, poets, and musicians, and illuminate the variety of methods African American authors used when adapting this traditional Japanese form. The result is a volume that offers rich insight into African American aesthetics, the black arts movement, gender issues, blues and jazz, and trends in contemporary poetry.
African American Literary Theory: A Reader
African American Literary Theory
A Reader
Hardcover      ISBN: 0814758096

"African American Literary Theory is an extraordinary gift to literary studies. It is necessary, authoritative and thorough. The timing of this book is superb "
--Karla F.C. Holloway, Duke University
"The influence of African American literature can be attributed, in no small part, to the literary theorists gathered in this collection. This is a superb anthology that represents a diversity of voices and points of view, and a much needed historical retrospective of how African American literary theory has developed."
--Marlon B. Ross, University of Michigan
"A volume of great conceptual significance and originality in its focus on the development of African American literary theory."
--Farah Jasmine Griffin, University of Pennsylvania
African American Literary Theory: A Reader is the first volume to document the central texts and arguments in African American literary theory from the 1920s through the present. As the volume progresses chronologically from the rise of a black aesthetic criticism, through the Blacks Arts Movement, feminism, structuralism and poststructuralism, and the rise of queer theory, it focuses on the key arguments, themes, and debates in each period.
By constantly bringing attention to the larger political and cultural issues at stake in the interpretation of literary texts, the critics gathered here have contributed mightily to the prominence and popularity of African American literature in this country and abroad. African American Literary Theory provides a unique historical analysis of how these thinkers have shaped literary theory, and literature at large, and will be a indispensable text for the study of African American intellectual culture.
Contributors include Sandra Adell, Michael Awkward, Houston A. Baker, Jr., Hazel V. Carby, Barbara Christian, W.E.B. DuBois, Ann duCille, Ralph Ellison, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Addison Gayle Jr., Carolyn F. Gerald, Evelynn Hammonds, Phillip Brian Harper, Mae Gwendolyn Henderson, Stephen E. Henderson, Karla F.C. Holloway, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Joyce A. Joyce, Alain Locke, Wahneema Lubiano, Deborah E. McDowell, Harryette Mullen, Larry Neal, Charles I. Nero, Robert F. Reid-Pharr, Marlon B. Ross, George S. Schuyler, Barbara Smith, Valerie Smith, Hortense J. Spillers, Sherley Anne Williams, and Richard Wright.

African American Literary Theory: A Reader
African American Literary Theory
A Reader
Paperback      ISBN: 081475810x

African American Literary Theory: A Reader is the first volume to document the central texts and arguments in African American literary theory from the 1920s through the present. As the volume progresses chronologically from the rise of a black aesthetic criticism, through the Blacks Arts Movement, feminism, structuralism and poststructuralism, and the rise of queer theory, it focuses on the key arguments, themes, and debates in each period.
By constantly bringing attention to the larger political and cultural issues at stake in the interpretation of literary texts, the critics gathered here have contributed mightily to the prominence and popularity of African American literature in this country and abroad. African American Literary Theory provides a unique historical analysis of how these thinkers have shaped literary theory, and literature at large, and will be a indispensable text for the study of African American intellectual culture.
Contributors include Sandra Adell, Michael Awkward, Houston A. Baker, Jr., Hazel V. Carby, Barbara Christian, W.E.B. DuBois, Ann duCille, Ralph Ellison, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Addison Gayle Jr., Carolyn F. Gerald, Evelynn Hammonds, Phillip Brian Harper, Mae Gwendolyn Henderson, Stephen E. Henderson, Karla F.C. Holloway, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Joyce A. Joyce, Alain Locke, Wahneema Lubiano, Deborah E. McDowell, Harryette Mullen, Larry Neal, Charles I. Nero, Robert F. Reid-Pharr, Marlon B. Ross, George S. Schuyler, Barbara Smith, Valerie Smith, Hortense J. Spillers, Sherley Anne Williams, and Richard Wright.

African American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students
African American Literature
An Encyclopedia for Students
Hardcover      ISBN: 1440871507

This compact encyclopedia, aimed at students, selects the most important authors, literary movements, and key topics for them to know.

Entries cover the most influential and highly regarded African American writers, including novelists, playwrights, poets, and nonfiction writers. The book covers key periods of African American literature--such as the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and the Civil Rights Era--and touches on the influence of the vernacular, including blues and hip hop.

The volume provides historical context for critical viewpoints including feminism, social class, and racial politics. Entries are organized A to Z and provide biographies that focus on the contributions of key literary figures as well as overviews, background information, and definitions for key subjects.

African American Literature and the Classicist Tradition: Black Women Writers from Wheatley to Morrison
African American Literature and the Classicist Tradition
Black Women Writers from Wheatley to Morrison
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0230600220

This is a groundbreaking study exploring the significant relationship between western classical mythology and African American women's literature. A comparative analysis of classical revisions by eighteenth and nineteenth century Black women writers Phillis Wheatley and Pauline Hopkins and twentieth century writers Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, and Rita Dove reveals that Black women writers revise specific classical myths for artistic and political agency. The study demonstrates that women rework myth to represent mythical stories from the Black female perspective and to counteract denigrating contemporary cultural and social myths that disempower and devalue Black womanhood. Through their adaptations of classical myths about motherhood, Wheatley, Ray, Brooks, Morrison, and Dove uncover the shared experiences of mythic mothers and their contemporary African American counterparts thus offering a unique Black feminist perspective to classicism. The women also use myth as a liberating space where they can 'speak the unspeakable' and empower their subjects as well as themselves.