THE W. E. B. DU BOIS LECTURES
Cover: What Was African American Literature?, from Harvard University PressCover: What Was African American Literature? in PAPERBACK

What Was African American Literature?

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$17.00 • £13.95 • €15.50

ISBN 9780674066298

Publication Date: 09/03/2012

Academic Trade

192 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures

World

Most literary criticism today, under the sign of theory, is obscure and incomprehensible, and shies from presenting daring new ways to look at literature—when it engages with contemporary literature at all. Kenneth W. Warren’s book is an example of a book of literary criticism in elegant prose, completely accessible and jargon-free, yet making a sophisticated argument about a whole branch of literature, connecting politics and literature in a most exciting way.—Anis Shivani, The Huffington Post

A slight but forceful text with a pugnacious and elegantly presented thesis.Publishers Weekly

What Was African American Literature? is undoubtedly one of the most provocative books on the texts and criticism of African American literature to appear within the past several years. The sophistication and range of its arguments further cement Warren’s stature as one of the leading thinkers of our time.—Gene Jarrett, Boston University

Is the idea that sustains the possibility of an African American literature today the belief that the welfare of the race as a whole depends on the success of black writers and those who are depicted in their texts, as Ken Warren suggests in this provocative new book? In compelling close readings of novels from George Schuyler’s Black No More to Michael Thomas’s Man Gone Down and in comprehensive engagements with major tendencies in literary criticism, What Was African American Literature? punctures contemporary assumptions about the role of black literature since the end of the Jim Crow regime that, Warren argues, provoked the literature’s emergence in the first place.—Werner Sollors, Harvard University

From Our Blog

9780674238084

Who We Might Have Been, and Who We Will Become

Who among us hasn’t considered what our lives would be like if we had taken alternate paths, made different decisions? Storytellers of every stripe write of the lives we didn’t have, says Andrew H. Miller, author of On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives. As we live through a worldwide pandemic, the ideas of what might have been are even more appealing. Much like the adolescents on the verge of adulthood in Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, Miller tells us, we wait to see what comes next.