In this Book

Writing through Jane Crow

In Writing through Jane Crow, Ayesha Hardison examines African American literature and its representation of black women during the pivotal but frequently overlooked decades of the 1940s and 1950s. At the height of Jim Crow racial segregation—a time of transition between the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts movement and between World War II and the modern civil rights movement—black writers also addressed the effects of "Jane Crow," the interconnected racial, gender, and sexual oppression that black women experienced. Hardison maps the contours of this literary moment with the understudied works of well-known writers like Gwendolyn Brooks, Zora Neale Hurston, Ann Petry, and Richard Wright as well as the writings of neglected figures like Curtis Lucas, Pauli Murray, and Era Bell Thompson.

By shifting her focus from the canonical works of male writers who dominated the period, the author recovers the work of black women writers. Hardison shows how their texts anticipated the renaissance of black women’s writing in later decades and initiates new conversations on the representation of women in texts by black male writers. She draws on a rich collection of memoirs, music, etiquette guides, and comics to further reveal the texture and tensions of the era.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Introduction: Defining Jane Crow
  2. pp. 1-24
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  1. 1: At the Point of No Return: A Native Son and His Gorgon Muse
  2. pp. 25-53
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  1. 2: Gender Conscriptions, Class Conciliations, and the Bourgeois Blues Aesthetic
  2. pp. 54-116
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  1. 4: “I’ll See How Crazy They Think I Am”:Pulping Sexual Violence, Racial Melancholia, and Healthy Citizenship
  2. pp. 117-143
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  1. 5: Rereading the Construction of Womanhood in Popular Narratives of Domesticity
  2. pp. 144-173
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  1. 6: The Audacity of Hope: An American Daughter and Her Dream of Cultural Hybridity
  2. pp. 174-202
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  1. Epilogue: Refashioning Jane Crowand the Black Female Body
  2. pp. 203-220
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 221-248
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 249-270
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 271-281
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