To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature

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Juli 1998



This text, winner of the 1993 Christian Gauss Award of Phi Beta Kappa, presents a major re-evaluation of the glory years of American literature - from 1830 to 1930 - that shows how white literature and black literature form a single interwoven tradition. By examining African America's contested relation to the intellectual and literary forms of white culture, Sundquist reconstructs the main lines of American literary tradition. He considers each text he discusses against a background of history, law, literature, politics, religion, folklore, music, and dance to produce a commentary on the American literary tradition.


Introduction PART I: SLAVERY, REVOLUTION, RENAISSANCE 1. Signs of Power: Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass San Domingo and Its Patriots Nat Turner, Thomas Gray, and the Phenomenology of Slavery Ibo Warriors Blackhead Signpost: Prophecy and Terror Frederick Douglass's Revisions Iron Sentences: Paternity, Literacy, Liberty Broken Fetters: The Right of Revolution 2. Melville, Delany, and New World Slavery Memory, Authority, and the Shadowy Tableau The Play of the Barber Ashantee Conjurors: Africanisms and Africanization The Law of Nature or the Hive of Subtlety Caribbean Empires "It Is Wrote in Jeremiah": American Maroons Sugar, Conspiracy, and the Ladder El Dia de los Reyes PART II: THE COLOR LINE 3. Mark Twain and Homer Plessy The Second Slavery The Badge of Servitude: Homer Plessy and the Rise of Segregation Blaspheming Colors, Extraordinary Twins A Whisper to the Reader 4. Charles Chesnutt's Cakewalk The Origin of the Cakewalk Word Shadows and Alternating Sounds: Folklore, Dialect, and Vernacular Uncle Remus, Uncle Julius, and the New Negro "De Ole Times," Slave Culture, and Africa Talking Bones: Conjure and Narrative White Weeds: The Pathology of the Color Line Fusion: The Marrow of Tradition A Great Black Figure and a Doll PART III: W. E. B. DU BOIS: AFRICAN AMERICA AND THE KINGDOM OF CULTURE 5. Swing Low: The Souls of Black Folk In the Kingdom of Culture "This Wonderful Music of Bondage" Bright Sparkles: Music and Text Black and Unknown Bards: A Theory of the Sorrow Songs 6. The Spell of Africa The Color Line Belts the World "Ethiopia Shall Stretch Forth Her Hands": Toward Pan-Africanism Africa: The Hidden Self and the Pageant of Nationalism The Burden of Black Women The Black Christ and Other Prophets Notes Acknowledgments Index


Eric Sundquist is UCLA Foundation Professor of Literature at UCLA.


Thus instead of literary history that invokes the same, shopworn links between old world and new, readers of To Wake the Nations will discover a not-so-subtle change in the frame of reference from Europe to Africa...This radical reconstruction of American literary history results in a dazzling if somewhat humbling experience for readers schooled in the European tradition. Sundquist's conscientious scholarship and immense learning set a high standard for future scholars that will not soon be matched. -- Jonathan Veitch CLIO To Wake the Nations brilliantly [weaves Sundquist's] analysis of African American 'sorrow songs' with textual material. -- David Yaffe Bookforum
EAN: 9780674893313
ISBN: 067489331X
Untertitel: Revised. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Juli 1998
Seitenanzahl: 720 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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