Reading Contemporary African American Literature

Reading Contemporary African American Literature : Black Women's Popular Fiction, Post-Civil Rights Experience, and the African American Canon

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Reading Contemporary African American Literature focuses on the subject of contemporary African American popular fiction by women. Bragg's study addresses why such work should be the subject of scholarly examination, describes the events and attitudes which account for the critical neglect of this body of work, and models a critical approach to such narratives that demonstrates the distinctive ways in which this literature captures the complexities of post-civil rights era black experiences. In making her arguments regarding the value of popular writing, Bragg argues that black women's popular fiction foregrounds gender in ways that are frequently missing from other modes of narrative production. They exhibit a responsiveness and timeliness to the shifting social terrain which is reflected in the rapidly shifting styles and themes which characterize popular fiction. In doing so, they extend the historical function of African American literature by continuing to engage the black body as a symbol of political meaning in the social context of the United States. In popular literature Beauty Bragg locates a space from which black women engage a variety of public more

Product details

  • Hardback | 140 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 073918878X
  • 9780739188781

About Beauty Bragg

Beauty Bragg is an associate professor in the department of English and rhetoric at Georgia College and State more

Review quote

Beauty Bragg offers a concise, wonderfully readable, and persuasively argued black feminist study that forces us to reexamine our understandings of high and low in African American literature and culture. -- T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Vanderbilt University Reading Contemporary African American Literature does the much-needed work required to help scholars and students alike understand the ways popular fiction speaks to many of the same discourses serious literature explores. The unparalleled popularity of books like Push and Coldest Winter Ever nudged us all to acquire an expanded understanding of the work popular fiction authored by African American women writers could do and in unprecedented ways-from building new audiences to offering uncompromising critiques of systemic forces that enable poverty and abuse, to celebrating the beauty of African American life in all of its iterations. Here, Bragg takes an important first step in helping us tear down imagined barriers between differing communities of readers who appreciate the ways African American women writers render the full range of these communities' experiences in narrative. -- Dana Williams, Howard Universityshow more

Table of contents

Table of Contents Introduction: Locating an African American Literary Tradition Chapter 1: The Reconstructionist Canon, Black Feminist Literary Perspectives, and Popular Potential Chapter 2: Toni Morrison's Tar Baby and the Problem of Classification Chapter 3: Girlfriend Fiction: Black Women Writers and Readers Negotiating Post-Civil Rights Womanhood Chapter 4: Feminism and the Streets: Urban Fiction and the Quest for Female Independence in the Era of Transactional Sexuality Chapter 5: Hip Hop Tell-All Memoirs and Modes of Self-Construction Conclusion: From Critical Practice to Classroom Practice Bibliography Index About the Authorshow more

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