Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present

Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present

By: Angelyn Mitchell (editor)Hardback

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Within the Circle is the first anthology to present the entire spectrum of twentieth-century African American literary and cultural criticism. It begins with the Harlem Renaissance, continues through civil rights, the Black Arts Movement, and on into contemporary debates of poststructuralist and black feminist theory. Drawing on a quote from Frederick Douglass for the title of this book, Angelyn Mitchell explains in her introduction the importance for those "within the circle" of African American literature to examine their own works and to engage this critical canon. The essays in this collection-many of which are not widely available today-either initiated or gave critical definition to specific periods or movements of African American literature. They address issues such as integration, separatism, political action, black nationalism, Afrocentricity, black feminism, as well as the role of art, the artist, the critic, and the audience. With selections from Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, W. E. B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and many others, this definitive collection provides a dynamic model of the cultural, ideological, historical, and aesthetic considerations in African American literature and literary criticism. A major contribution to the study of African American literature, this volume will serve as a foundation for future work by students and scholars. Its importance will be recognized by all those interested in modern literary theory as well as general readers concerned with the African American experience.Selections by (partial list): Houston A. Baker, Jr., James Baldwin, Sterling Brown, Barbara Christian, W. E. B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, LeRoi Jones, Sarah Webster Fabio, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W. Lawrence Hogue, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Alain Locke, Deborah E. McDowell, Toni Morrison, J. Saunders Redding, George Schuyler, Barbara Smith, Valerie Smith, Hortense J. Spillers, Robert B. Stepto, Alice Walker, Margaret Walker, Mary Helen Washington, Richard Wright

About Author

Angelyn Mitchell is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University.


Acknowledgments xi Introduction: Voices Within the Circle: A Historical Overview of African American Literary Criticism 1 I. The Harlem Renaissance The New Negro / Alain Locke 21 The Negro in American Literature / William Stanley Braithwaite 32 The Gift of Laughter / Jessie Fauset 45 The Negro-Art Hokum / George S. Schuyler 51 The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain / Langston Hughes 55 Criteria of Negro Art / W.E.B. DuBois 60 Our Literary Audience / Sterling A. Brown 69 Characteristics of Negro Expression / Zora Neale Hurston 79 II. Humanistic/Ethical Criticism and the Protest Tradition Blueprint for Negro Writing / Richard Wright 97 American Negro Literature / J. Saunders Redding 107 What White Publishers Won't Print / Zora Neale Hurston 117 New Poets / Margaret Walker 122 Twentieth-Century Fiction and the Black Mask of Humanity / Ralph Ellison 134 Everybody's Protest Novel / James Baldwin 149 Integration and Race Literature / Arthur P. Davis 156 III. The Black Arts Movement The Myth of a "Negro Literature" / LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) 165 Ethnic Impact in American Literature: Reflections on a Course / George E. Kent 172 The Black Arts Movement / Larry Neal 184 Towards a Black Aesthetic / Hoyt W. Fuller 199 Cultural Strangulation: Black Literature and the White Aesthetic / Addison Gayle, Jr. 207 Toward a Definition: Black Poetry of the Sixties (After LeRoi Jones) / Don L. Lee (Haki Madhubuti) 213 Tripping with Black Writing / Sarah Webster Fabio 224 IV. Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and the African-American Critic Preface to Blackness: Text and Pretext / Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 245 I Rose and Found My Voice: Narration, Authentication, and Authored Control in Four Slave Narratives / Robert B. Stepto 256 Generational Shifts and the Recent Criticism of Afro-American Literature / Houston A. Baker, Jr. 282 Literary Production: A Silence in Afro-American Critical Practice / W. Lawrence Hogue 329 The Race for Theory / Barbara Christian 348 Appropriate Gestures: Theory and Afro-American Literary Criticism / Michael Awkward 360 Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature / Toni Morrison 368 V. Gender, Theory, and African-American Feminist Criticism In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens / Alice walker 401 Toward a Black Feminist Criticism / Barbara Smith 410 New Directions for Black Feminist Criticism / Deborah E. McDowell 428 "The Darkened Eye Restored": Notes Toward a Literary History of Black Women / Mary Helen Washington 442 Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book / Hortense J. Spillers 454 Gender and Afro-Americanist Literary Theory and Criticism / Valerie Smith 482 But What Do We Think We're Doing Anyway: The State of Black Feminist Criticism(s) or My Version of a Little Bit of History / Barbara Christian 499 Some Implications for Related Reading 523 Acknowledgment of Copyrights 526 About the Critics 528 Index of Selected Names 531

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780822315360
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 544
  • ID: 9780822315360
  • ISBN10: 082231536X

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