By Maisha L. Wester (auth.)
This new critique of latest African-American fiction explores its intersections with and opinions of the Gothic style. Wester unearths the myriad methods writers control the style to critique the gothic's conventional racial ideologies and the mechanisms that have been appropriated and re-articulated as an invaluable motor vehicle for the enunciation of the extraordinary terrors and complexities of black life in the USA. Re-reading significant African American literary texts akin to Narrative of the lifetime of Frederick Douglass, of 1 Blood, Cane, Invisible guy, and Corregidora African American Gothic investigates texts from each one significant period in African American tradition to teach how the gothic has regularly circulated during the African American literary canon.
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Additional info for African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places
Self as a body in the middle of a spatial and temporal world [ . . that] does not impose itself on” a body (111). The white world necessarily and physically imposes itself upon the slave writer’s body, marking the erasure of his “metaphysics”1 on his body. From the beginning of life, the slave’s “being” is “over-determined from without” (Fanon 116). White American Gothic literature further complicates the writing of slave’s “being” while capitalizing upon it as conducive to constructions of white being.
Challenged to find a mythic home that reconnects them to their ancestry while also offering equal opportunity and an escape from oppressive racialisms, the texts suggests that the North/South divide is fictional, as each location offers as much redemption and horror as the Other. Most importantly, Toomer’s and Ellison’s novels question the face of future idyllic black leadership. The second section begins with a discussion of three texts from black female writers revising the gothic genre. “ ‘What, After All, Am I’: The Terrors of (Collective) Identity” juxtaposes Alice Walker’s underacknowledged story of family terror “The Child Who Favored Daughter” (1967) alongside Gayl Jones’s Corregidora (1975) and Gloria Naylor’s Linden Hills (1985).
Allegorize the human condition itself as existential alienation and angst” (Gleeson-White 108). Such writers recognize the veracity of some of the popular perceptions about the region, even as they deny their position as the nation’s Other. Understanding Southern Gothic proves useful for understanding African American Gothic because of the former’s concern with history. The South is the location of temporal conflict and writers often represent it as the place where history turns in upon itself; Southern writers “evoke a string of distorted figures trapped in structures that had lost their authority but not their power” (Lloyd-Smith 121).