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Black and white strangers : race and American literary realism

Author: Kenneth W Warren
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Series: Black literature and culture.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
From Abraham Lincoln's wry observation that Harriet Beecher Stowe was "the little lady who made this big war" to Mark Twain's "wild proposition" that Walter Scott had somehow touched off sectional hostilities, there have been many competing theories about the impact of literature on nineteenth-century American society. In this provocative book, Kenneth W. Warren argues that the rise of literary realism late in the  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Named Person: Henry James; Henry James; Henry James; Henry James
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Kenneth W Warren
ISBN: 0226873846 9780226873848
OCLC Number: 27066246
Notes: Spine title: Black & white strangers.
Based on the author's thesis.
Description: ix, 168 p. ; 23 cm.
Contents: 1. Reading Henry James --
2. Aesthetics, race, and "warrants of decency" --
3. The persistence of Uncle Tom and the problem of critical distinction --
4. Black and white strangers.
Series Title: Black literature and culture.
Other Titles: Black & white strangers.
Responsibility: Kenneth W. Warren.
More information:

Abstract:

From Abraham Lincoln's wry observation that Harriet Beecher Stowe was "the little lady who made this big war" to Mark Twain's "wild proposition" that Walter Scott had somehow touched off sectional hostilities, there have been many competing theories about the impact of literature on nineteenth-century American society. In this provocative book, Kenneth W. Warren argues that the rise of literary realism late in the century was shaped by and in turn helped to shape the politics of racial difference following Reconstruction. Taking up a variety of novelists from this period, including most prominently Henry James and William Dean Howells, Warren demonstrates that even works not directly concerned with race were instrumental in forging a Jim Crow nation. As a literary history, Black and White Strangers places the writing of realistic novels within the context of their serialization in the monthly magazines of the 1880s. By viewing these novels in light of editorial policies regarding social propriety, national unity, and literary aesthetics, Warren reveals the often surprising ways in which realistic fiction at once challenged and abetted the growing conservatism of racial politics. Warren also seeks to bridge the gap between American and African-American literary studies, which have hitherto been "strangers" to each other. James and Howells, he argues, can be understood fully only when read alongside W. E. B. Du Bois and Frances E. W. Harper; James's The American Scene, for instance must be seen as a companion text to Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk. In making these connections, Warren challenges American and African-American studies to see themselves as mutually constitutive enterprises and to question the value of canon-based criticism in any complete investigation of the meaning of "race" in American cultural history.

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