American Lazarus

American Lazarus : Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures

3.85 (14 ratings by Goodreads)
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The 1780s and 1790s were a critical era for communities of colour in the new United States of America. Even Thomas Jefferson observed that in the aftermath of the American Revolution, 'the spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust.' This book explores the means by which the very first Black and Indian authors rose up to transform their communities and the course of American literary history. It argues that the origins of modern African-American and American Indian literatures emerged at the revolutionary crossroads of religion and racial formation as early Black and Indian authors reinvented American evangelicalism and created new postslavery communities, new categories of racial identification, and new literary traditions. While shedding fresh light on the pioneering figures of African-American and Native American cultural history-including Samson Occom, Prince Hall, Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and John Marrant-this work also explores a powerful set of little-known Black and Indian sermons, narratives, journals, and hymns. Chronicling the early American communities of color from the separatist Christian Indian settlement in upstate New York to the first African Lodge of Freemasons in Boston, it shows how eighteenth-century Black and Indian writers forever shaped the American experience of race and religion. American Lazarus offers a bold new vision of a foundational moment in American literature. It reveals the depth of early Black and Indian intellectual history and reassesses the political, literary, and cultural powers of religion in more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 20mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195332911
  • 9780195332919

Review quote

In American Lazarus Joanna Brooks applies a new and highly effective paradigm to the emergence of African American and Native American voices in eighteenth-century British America. As she explores the confluence of evangelical religion and revolutionary ideology that gave rise to such writers as Samson Occom, John Marrant, and Prince Hall, Brooks reinvigorates a long tradition of American Studies scholarship. Well-written and learned, American Lazarus should find a wide audience. * Philip F. Gura, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill * American Lazarus is a stunning resurrection of a buried chapter of American literary history and the redemption of a host of misread, ignored, and undervalued African American and Native American literary artists whose works have long awaited the interpretive powers and methods of Joanna Brooks. This book transforms our reading of American religion, race, history, and literature by reformulating our assumptions about the literary culture of the early Republic. Brooks demonstrates how black and Indian authors used the dominant religion and language to construct the terms and reality of their own survival, redemption, and regeneration. Brooks's revealing, heroic narrative will change how we think about the formation of the nation. * Emory Eliott, University of California, Riverside * American Lazarus launches an important and powerful refiguring of early American literature-a refiguring made possible by contemporary theories of race and colonization, but one governed nevertheless by Brooks's insistence on reading African American and Native American writers of the eighteenth century with rigorous attention to the religious and political contexts that produced them. * Eric J. Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles *show more

About Joanna Brooks

Joanna Brooks is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State Universityshow more

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14 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 43% (6)
4 7% (1)
3 43% (6)
2 7% (1)
1 0% (0)
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