Playing the Races

Playing the Races : Ethnic Caricature and American Literary Realism

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Why did so many of the writers who aligned themselves with the social and aesthetic aims of late nineteenth-century American literary realism rely on stock conventions of ethnic caricature in their treatment of immigrant African-American figures? Playing the Races argues that literary realism and ethnic caricature, two dramatically different aesthetic programmes that flourished side by side in periodicals of the era, operated less as antithetical choices than as complementary impulses, both of which received full play within late nineteenth-century America's most demanding literary and graphic works.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.2 x 25.4mm | 476.28g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 69 halftones & 3 line illus
  • 0195161947
  • 9780195161946

Review quote

In an insightful study of William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Charles W. Chestnutt, Wonham shows that ethnic caricature was actually an integral component of realist art.... Filled with fresh insights, this book successfully demonstrates that ethnic caricature was, surprisingly, right at home within the world of American literary realism. * Virginia Quarterly Review *
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