Each Hour Redeem
Time and Justice in African American Literature
Publication Year: 2013
Each Hour Redeem advances a major reinterpretation of African American literature from the late eighteenth century to the present by demonstrating how its authors are centrally concerned with racially different experiences of time. Daylanne K. English argues that, from Phillis Wheatley to Suzan-Lori Parks, African American writers have depicted distinctive forms of temporality to challenge racial injustices supported by dominant ideas of time. The first book to explore the representation of time throughout the African American literary canon, Each Hour Redeem illuminates how the pervasive and potent tropes of timekeeping provide the basis for an overarching new understanding of the tradition.
Combing literary, historical, legal, and philosophical approaches, Each Hour Redeem examines a wide range of genres, including poetry, fiction, drama, slave narratives, and other forms of nonfiction. English shows that much of African American literature is characterized by “strategic anachronism,” the use of prior literary forms to investigate contemporary political realities, as seen in Walter Mosley’s recent turn to hard-boiled detective fiction. By contrast, “strategic presentism” is exemplified in the Black Arts Movement and the Harlem Renaissance and their investment in contemporary political potentialities, for example, in Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka’s adaptation of the jazz of their eras for poetic form and content. Overall, the book effectively demonstrates how African American writers have employed multiple and complex conceptions of time not only to trace racial injustice but also to help construct a powerful literary tradition across the centuries.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Download PDF (1.9 MB)
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (430.4 KB)
Download PDF (328.5 KB)
Download PDF (170.2 KB)
I am deeply grateful to colleagues and friends who made this book possi-ble. First, I thank Michelle Wright and Rod Ferguson; their delightful friendship and steadfast intellectual companionship have made not just this project, but the last de cade so much better than it ever could have been without them. I also thank Richard Morrison for being, simply, the ...
Introduction: Political Fictions
Download PDF (3.0 MB)
Th is book demonstrates that, across genre and era, African American writers have disclosed and explored the complex and high philosophical and material stakes inherent in time and its mea sure. Th ey have long un-derstood that time, justice, and the written word are deeply intertwined— so much so that this triad lies at the heart of the African American literary ...
Chapter 1: Ticking, Not Talking: Timekeeping in Early African American Literature
Download PDF (2.1 MB)
Lina says from the state of my teeth I am maybe seven or eight when I am brought here. We boil wild plums for jam and cake eight times since then, With little controversy, African American literature has conventionally been understood as following a distinct timeline, as possessing its own literary genealogy and history. Th e towering Norton Anthology of African ...
Chapter 2: “Temporal Damage”: Pragmatism and Plessy in African American Novels, 1896–1902
Download PDF (671.5 KB)
Invisibility, let me explain, gives one a slightly diff erent sense of time, you’re never quite on the beat. Sometimes you’re ahead and sometimes you’re In when William Wells Brown’s Clotel; or, Th e President’s Daughter, believed to be the fi rst African American– authored novel, was published, black people in the United States— regardless of region, class, free or slave ...
Chapter 3: “The Death of the Last Black Man”: Repetition, Lynching, and Capital Punishment in Twentieth-Century African American Literature
Download PDF (2.3 MB)
Repetition, Lynching, and Capital Punishment in Twentieth- Century W. E. B. Du Bois’s Th e Souls of Black Folk () bridges the gap between the despair of many late nineteenth- century African American novels and the relative optimism of the Harlem Re nais sance. Looking to the past in order to understand— and to the future in order to exceed— a dire present, ...
Chapter 4: “Seize the Time!” Strategic Presentism in the Black Arts Movement
Download PDF (594.0 KB)
Th at many black thinkers from the late s through the early s were preoccupied by time and philosophies of time is highlighted by the forma-tion of the Dasein Literary Society, a circle of black writers originally based at Howard University. Th e group started forming as early as ; they published a literary journal, also called Dasein, from through ...
Chapter 5: Being Black There: Contemporary African American Detective Fiction
Download PDF (2.2 MB)
Since , Walter Mosley, Barbara Neely, Eleanor Taylor Bland, Anthony Gar Haywood, Nichelle Tramble, and Valerie Wilson Wesley, among a number of other African American authors, have chosen to write not just one detective novel but a series of detective novels. In response to that ever- expanding list of authors and works, quite a few valuable essays and ...
Conclusion: Political Truths
Download PDF (1.6 MB)
Despite the clear centrality of time in the African American literary tradi-tion, it has remained relatively neglected as a category of analysis. To my knowledge there has been only one other book- length study of time in relation to black writing, Bonnie J. Barthold’s groundbreaking Black Time: Fiction of Africa, Ca rib be an, and the United States ().1 Barthold argues ...
Download PDF (466.7 KB)
Download PDF (465.1 KB)
Download PDF (417.3 KB)
About the Author
Download PDF (324.8 KB)
DAYLANNE K. ENGLISH is associate professor of English at Macalester College. She is the author of Unnatural Selections: Eugenics in ...
Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013