restricted access Crosstown Jakes in 1920s Manhattan: Racial Formations in John Dos Passos’s Manhattan Transfer and Claude Mckay’s Home to Harlem

Extending Toni Morrison's argument that close scrutiny of how American Africanism works in the literary imagination is central to understanding American literature, I compare different but mutually informative racial formations in two novels of the 1920s, one by a white and the other by a black writer. I argue that their overlapping deployments of the onomastic tropes of “Jake” and “Congo” reveal what race means to Dos Passos and McKay as both narrative strategy and cultural experience.