Designs of Blackness

Designs of Blackness : Mappings in the Literature & Culture of Afro-America

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`A. Robert Lee dazzles us once again with his knowledge of many different literatures. He has set a high standard for those who are bound to one tradition. Designs of Blackness is a very cogent examination of 20th century African-American literature.' Ishmael Reed`This erudite compilation sets out to cover no less than the whole of what could be termed the Afro-American literary canon.' European Association for American Studies Newsletter 'Lee is a remarkable writer, erudite and readable at once.' David Dabydeen, University of WarwickAcross more than two centuries, Afro-America has created a huge variety of literary self-expression. In examining the work of writers as diverse as Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Wilson in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, LeRoi Jones/Imamu Amiri Baraka and Leon Forrest in the twentieth century, A. Robert Lee meets this abundant play of imagination head on, presenting an intertextual series of mappings of figures and forms in the making of African American literature.Designs of Blackness views this rich literary tradition in the context of a larger corpus of black arts which typically encompasses the cinema of Spike Lee, Bessie Smith's blues, Romare Bearsden's canvases, the photographic work of Gordon Parks, Martin Luther King's oratory, and Muhammad Ali's boxing athleticism and early sass. Professor Lee examines both high and popular black styles, from slave writing, through the diaspora and the Middle Passage as memory, to postmodernism and cultural styles like rap. Particular attention is given to the formative periods of black history - the early black feminism of the 1890s, the New Negro 1920s and the Black Power and Civil Rights of the 1960s. Despite so spacious a coverage Professor Lee keeps his focus sharp and in so doing provides a radical reassessment of the cultural history of Afro-America.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 134 x 214 x 22mm | 358.34g
  • PLUTO PRESS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745306446
  • 9780745306445

About Professor Robert Lee

A. Robert Lee is Professor of American Literature at Nihon University, Tokyo, having previously taught at the University of Kent at Canterbury. His previous Pluto Press books include A Permanent Etcetera: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Post-War America (1993), Other Britain, Other British: Contemporary Multicultural Fiction (1995) and Beat Generation Writers (1996).show more

Table of contents

Introduction 1. Reclamations: The Early Afro-America of Phillis Wheatley, Jupiter Hammon, Olaudah Equiano and David Walker 2. The Stance of Self-Representation: Founders, Moderns and Contemporaries in African American Autobiography 3. Harlem on My Mind: Fictions of a Black Metropolis 4. Womanisms: Harriet E. Wilson to Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston to Alice Walker 5. Richard Wright's Inside Narratives 6. War and Peace: Writing The Black 1940s 7. Black Beats: The Signifying Poetry of LeRoi Jones/ Amiri Baraka, Ted Joans and Bob Kaufman 8. Acting Out: The Black Drama of the 1960s, The 1960s of Black Drama 9. Equilibrium Out Of Their Chaos: Black Modernism, Black Postmodernism, and Leon Forrest's Witherspoon-Bloodworth Trilogy 10. Under Cover, Under Covers: African American Fictions of Passing Notes Indexshow more

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