In this Book

The Ohio State University Press
summary
During the era of the slave trade, more than 12 million Africans were brought as slaves to the Americas. Their memories, ideas, beliefs, and practices would forever reshape its history and cultures. April C. E. Langley’s The Black Aesthetic Unbound exposes the dilemma of the literal, metaphorical, and rhetorical question, “What is African in African American literature?” Confronting the undeniable imprints of West African culture and consciousness in early black writing such as Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative or Phillis Wheatley’s poetry, the author conceives eighteenth-century Black Experience to be literally and figuratively encompassing and inextricably linked to Africa, Europe, and America. Consequently, this book has three aims: to locate the eighteenth century as the genesis of the cultural and historical movements which mark twentieth-century black aestheticism—known as the Black Aesthetic; to analyze problematic associations of African identity as manifested in an essentialized Afro-America; and to study the relationship between specific West African modes of thought and expression and the emergence of a black aesthetic in eighteenth-century North America. By exploring how Senegalese, Igbo, and other West African traditions provide striking new lenses for reading poetry and prose by six significant writers, Langley offers a fresh perspective on this important era in our literary history. Ultimately, the author confronts the difficult dilemma of how to use diasporic, syncretic, and vernacular theories of Black culture to think through the massive cultural transformations wrought by the Middle Passage.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. p. v
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Introduction: Historical and Cultural Recovery: Eighteenth-Century Scholarship and the Politics of Visibility
  2. pp. 1-15
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  1. 1. The Dilemma of a Ghost: Early Black American Literature and Its Mournings/Moorings
  2. pp. 17-56
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  1. 2. What a Difference a "Way" Makes: Wheatley's Ways of Knowing
  2. pp. 57-95
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  1. 3. Kaleidescopic Re-memory in Equiano's Interesting Narrative: Shifting the Lens to Replace the Landscapes
  2. pp. 97-138
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  1. 4. Reading "Others" in Eighteenth-Century Afro-British American Literature: The Promise and the Dilmena of New Ways of Reading
  2. pp. 139-154
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  1. Concluding Remarks
  2. pp. 155-159
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 161-183
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 185-197
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 199-210
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814271940
Related ISBN
9780814210772
MARC Record
OCLC
1083110439
Pages
210
Launched on MUSE
2021-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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