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To wake the nations : race in the making of American literature

Author: Eric J Sundquist
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"This powerful book argues that white culture in America does not exist apart from black culture. The revolution of the rights of man that established this country collided long ago with the system of slavery, and we have been trying to reestablish a steady course for ourselves ever since. To Wake the Nations is urgent and rousing: we have integrated our buses, schools, and factories, but not the canon of American  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Sundquist, Eric J.
To wake the nations.
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1993
(OCoLC)645828520
Named Person: W E B Du Bois; Mark Twain; Herman Melville; Frederick Douglass; Nat Turner
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Eric J Sundquist
ISBN: 0674893301 9780674893306 067489331X 9780674893313
OCLC Number: 26721398
Description: ix, 705 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: pt. 1. Slavery, revolution, renaissance --
Signs of power : Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass --
Melville, Delany, and New World slavery --
pt. 2. The color line --
Mark Train and Homer Plessy --
Charles Chesnutt's cakewalk --
pt. 3. W.E.B. Du Bois : African America and the kingdom of culture --
Swing low : the souls of black folk --
The spell of Africa.
Responsibility: Eric J. Sundquist.

Abstract:

"This powerful book argues that white culture in America does not exist apart from black culture. The revolution of the rights of man that established this country collided long ago with the system of slavery, and we have been trying to reestablish a steady course for ourselves ever since. To Wake the Nations is urgent and rousing: we have integrated our buses, schools, and factories, but not the canon of American literature. That is the task Eric Sundquist has assumed in a book that ranges from politics to literature, from Uncle Remus to African American spirituals. But the hallmark of this volume is a sweeping reevaluation 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 from the decades before the Civil War through the early twentieth century. An opening discussion of Nat Turner's "Confessions," recorded by a white man, Thomas Gray, establishes a paradigm for the complexity of meanings that Sundquist uncovers in American literary texts. Focusing on Frederick Douglass's autobiographical books, Herman Melville's Benito Cereno, Martin Delany's novel Blake; or the Huts of America, Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, Charles Chesnutt's fiction, and W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk and Darkwater, Sundquist considers each text against a rich background of history, law, literature, politics, religion, folklore, music, and dance. These readings lead to insights into components of the culture at large: slavery as it intersected with postcolonial revolutionary ideology; literary representations of the legal and political foundations of segregation; and the transformation of elements of African and antebellum folk consciousness into the public forms of American literature."--Jacket.

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