The Signifying Monkey

The Signifying Monkey : A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism

3.9 (310 ratings by Goodreads)
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The second volume in a ground-breaking trilogy on Afro-American literature, The Signifying Monkey explores the relationships between the African and Afro-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Looking at the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture - and particularly at the Yoruba trickster figure of Esu-Elegbara and the Signifying Monkey, whose myths help articulate the black tradition's theory of its literature - Gates uncovers a unique system of interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition, that came with black slaves to the New more

Product details

  • Paperback | 318 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 17.78mm | 612.35g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • halftones throughout
  • 019506075X
  • 9780195060751
  • 883,224

Review quote

'The appearance of The Signifying Monkey will be one of the most significant events in the development of Afro-American studies in the next decade. Bold, ambitious, original ... An important contributuon, not only to the study of Afro-American literature, but to the whole enterprise of 'literary theory' as it applies to any literature whatsoever. This is a brilliant book, and it deserves to be read widely.' Critical Inquiry 'an important book ... The Signifying Monkey displays an impressive array of scholarship coupled with a wide-ranging knowledge of diverse materials and a visible creative energy which synthesises these into a coherent and convincing thesis. ... an immensely stimulating work which deserves a wide readership.' Reviews in American Studies 'Apart from suggesting new ways of looking at black literature, this original work is a singular contribution to linguistocs, anthropology and rhetoric. Notwithstanding the considerable resources upon which he bases his case, Gates works with a lightness of touch and a style of reasoning that makes the exercise of following the construction of his argument most exciting and provocative.' The Tribuneshow more

About Henry Louis Gates

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is Chairman of the Department of Afro-American Studies and W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of Figures in Black, Loose Canons, and Colored People; general editor of The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers; and general editor of The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute more

Rating details

310 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 33% (102)
4 34% (106)
3 25% (77)
2 6% (20)
1 2% (5)
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