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124Reviews contact and understanding with them. In Hamlin Garland's "Up the Cooley," a story of apparently irreconcilable division between the brothers Grant and Howard, Joseph finds his mediating figure in the fiddlerWilliam, whose music, expressing the hardscrabble lives of the farmers, joins his listeners in a kind ofcommunion. In Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop, it is art again that provides the cultural mediation. The cathedral ordered by Archbishop Latour combines European Romanesque style, yet is built by New Mexico artisans out of locally quarried stone. Though Mary Austin (who had a different theory of regionalism) hated this hybridization, Joseph joins Cather in celebrating it. Cahan's stories and novels may not be as rooted in landscape as expected of regional fiction, but they chronicle the interaction of an insulated provincial group with a larger society, and show that such a group, in its struggles toward assimilation, can make a contribution to a modern nation . In Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie travels with Tea Cake away from her small, all-black village, and returns to it after his death, adding her experience to the cycle of tales in the community's oral tradition. In a similar way, Faulkner's stories about Flem Snopes illustrate the process by which a disruptive event, such as the eruption of the crazed Texas ponies in Frenchman's Bend, is absorbed by the storytelling of that corner of Yoknapatawpha County. In his introduction Joseph claims that the study ofregional fiction may help to mediate many contemporary issues ofcivil society, that elastic realm between the individual and the state. He even suggests that the rival claims of (as an extreme example) the traditional college classroom and internetbased distance learning may be illuminated by this approach. He does not return to this example in his conclusion, and the reader may doubt that there are IT specialists, homeowners' associations, or church aldermen awaiting a new reading of Sarah Orne Jewett to resolve their policy debates . Joseph deserves credit, however, for some illuminating and challenging readings of regional texts, and for his insistence on the power of literature to promote tolerance and revise destructive cultural stereotypes. Bowling Green State UniversityCharles L. Crow Young, John K. Black Writers, White Publishers: Marketplace Politics in Twentieth-CenturyAfrican American Literature. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2006. 230 pp. Cloth: $40. You certainly don't have to be a black American literary critic or writer to know about the double standard in the predominantly white American Studies in American Fiction125 publishing industry. But many of us listened in disbelief at a recent conference to John A. Williams, the distinguished African American author of twenty books, including twelve novels, tell us stories about the fifty-seven rejections he received before the successful publication of his latest novel. Published finally in 1999 by Coffee House Press, an award-winning nonprofit literary publisher, Clifford's Blues is a fascinating novel in the form of a diary by a black, gay jazz musician who survives imprisonment in Dachau by playing piano and leading a band in a club for Nazi SS officers. So what is the key to commercial and critical success for a twentiethcentury black American writer with white American publishers and readers ? Is it the timing, packaging, and marketing of the writer's book? The theme, structure, and style ofthe book? The race, ethnicity, and gender of the author? Or is it all about the Benjamins and Oprah's Book Club? As professionals in the predominantly white academy and publishing industry know, any or all ofthe above contribute to some degree not only to the success but also to the publication of all writers and books, especially, because of the history of anti-black racism in the United States, contemporary books by black Americans. Although (in African American literature as in life) the historical power struggle between black writers and white publishers has never been governed by social, cultural, economic, or ethical equality, various forms of symbolic and material resistance to white domination of the quest by black writers for literary authority, authenticity , and agency are apparent in this original study of black American textual production. In Black Writers...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-5806
Print ISSN
0091-8083
Pages
pp. 124-127
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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