Download African, Native, and Jewish American Literature and the by A. Kent PDF

By A. Kent

ISBN-10: 1349538000

ISBN-13: 9781349538003

This e-book examines literature by means of African, local, and Jewish American novelists at the start of the 20 th century, a interval of radical dislocation from homelands for those 3 ethnic teams in addition to the interval while such voices validated themselves as relevant figures within the American literary canon.

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Extra info for African, Native, and Jewish American Literature and the Reshaping of Modernism

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In perhaps the most long-lasting effect of Reconstruction, most African Americans gained access to the public educational system, albeit a segregated one. While Reconstruction had ushered in a period of brief political gains, it ended gradually with a clear sense of failure to 30 AFRICAN, NATIVE, AND JEWISH AMERICAN LITERATURE accept African Americans as an integral part of American culture, and nearly a century would pass before African Americans would experience the same access to civil rights that they did during Reconstruction.

The very form of the novel, with its focus on an individual protagonist rather than a “type,” denies the anthropological effort to generalize about an entire culture. Novelists inevitably rely on their own experiences in writing fiction; indeed each of the novels examined here shares connections with its author’s life. But in choosing to write a novel, each of these writers implicitly, and at times explicitly, makes a claim that the work is fiction, not fact, that it is individual, INTRODUCTION 23 not representative.

While some of these writers (Hurston and McNickle in particular) employed the early anthropological discourses of Boas and his students, all of them used fiction as a means of countering anthropological categorization and objectification. These writers engaged in the anthropological project of cultural representation and developed strategies for writing about cultures just as anthropologists have, but they did so through fiction, paralleling Clifford Geertz’s view in The Interpretation of Cultures that cultural representation is an interpretive process, not a positivist scientific one.

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