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Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Narratives

W. Lawrence Hogue

Publication Year: 2013

Examines how six writers reconfigure African American subjectivity in ways that recall postmodernist theory.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

The completion of this manuscript was facilitated by a Faculty Development Leave, Office of the Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (Spring 2011), and by summer stipends from the University of Houston, which allowed me to work uninterrupted. I benefited enormously...

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Chapter 1: Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Subjectivity

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pp. 1-63

In the West, a notion we must divide because the European West is not the American West, people of African descent have always already been defined as Other. They are represented in an unequal, restrictive white-black binary opposition that defines whites as normative and superior...

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Chapter 2: Multiple Representations of Philadelphia and John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire

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pp. 64-100

According to Jacques Derrida, meaning in the West is defined in terms of binary oppositions, “a violent hierarchy” whereby “one of the two terms governs the other” (Positions 41). Within the white-black binary opposition in the West, the African American is defined as devalued...

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Chapter 3: The Trickster Figure, The African American Virtual Subject, and Percival Everett’s Erasure

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pp. 101-136

In The Invention of the Americas, the Argentinian philosopher Enrique Dussel identifies two basic paradigms of modernity—the Eurocentric and the planetary. The Eurocentric paradigm believes in reason, progress, hierarchy, sameness, and center, conceptualizing the phenomenon...

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Chapter 4: Using Jazz Music and Aesthetics to Redescribe the African American in Toni Morrison’s Jazz

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pp. 137-174

Because they belong to a different epistemological system, certain African American cultural forms such as the blues and jazz challenge Enlightenment reason and the Eurocentric horizon of the novel. In offering definitions of life that are different from a middle-class, Eurocentric,...

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Chapter 5: Revolting to Sustain Psychic Life: Bonnie Greer’s Hanging by Her Teeth and the Encounter with the Other

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pp. 175-211

In the Eurocentric West, the black woman has been called many names, almost all of them negative: Sapphire, Auntie, Jezebel, Mammy, Aunt Jemima, Brown Sugar, and girl, among others. With her body so inscribed with other people’s fears, fantasies, desires, and foreboding, how can...

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Chapter 6: Virtual-Actual Reality and Clarence Major’s Reflex and Bone Structure

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pp. 212-244

In the introduction to Clarence Major and His Art, Bernard Bell defines the value of Clarence Major’s literary postmodernism as its ability to move “beyond traditional literary limits and cultural boundaries in experimenting with different, occasionally multiple, narrative voices” (1)....

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Chapter 7: The Jungian/African Collective Unconscious, Jazz Aesthetics, and Xam Cartiér’s Muse-Echo Blues

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pp. 245-296

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Xam Wilson Cartiér published two novels—Muse-Echo Blues and Be-Bop, Re-Bop— that deal with African American jazz music and how it informs African American life. I have chosen to focus on Muse-Echo Blues because its main character is ...

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Chapter 8: Conclusion

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pp. 297-300

I began Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Narratives with a historical survey of African American scholars, social and political movements, and cultural forms such as the civil rights movement, the Black Power movement, the blues, and jazz, examining how...


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pp. 301-308

Works Cited

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pp. 309-324


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pp. 325-332

E-ISBN-13: 9781438448367
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438448350

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 864139177
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Postmodernism, Traditional Cultural Forms, and African American Narratives

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Subject Headings

  • Postmodernism (Literature) -- United States.
  • Subjectivity in literature.
  • American literature -- African American authors -- History and criticism.
  • African Americans -- Intellectual life.
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