Discourse and the Other

The Production of the Afro-American Text

Discourse and the Other

Book Pages: 200 Illustrations: Published: November 1986

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

The central thesis of Lawrence Hogue's book is that criticism of Afro-American literature has left out of account the way in which ideological pressures dictate the canon. This fresh approach to the study of the social, ideological, and political dynamics of the Afro-American literary text in the twentieth century, based on the Foucauldian concept of literature as social institution, examines the universalization that power effects, how literary texts are appropriated to meet ideological concerns and needs, and the continued oppression of dissenting voices.

Hogue presents an illuminating discussion of the publication and review history of "major" and neglected texts. He illustrates the acceptance of texts as exotica, as sociological documents, or as carriers of sufficient literary conventions to receive approbation. Although the sixties movement allowed the text to move to the periphery of the dominant ideology, providing some new myths about the Afro-American historical past, this marginal position was subsequently sabotaged, co-opted, or appropriated (Afros became a fad; presidents gave the soul handshake; the hip-talking black was dressing one style and talking another.)

This study includes extended discussion of four works; Ernest J. Gaines's The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Alice Walker's The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Albert Murray's Train Whistle Guitar, and Toni Morrison's Sula. Hogue assesses the informing worldviews of each and the extent and nature of their acceptance by the dominant American cultural apparatus.



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Preface ix

1. Literary Production: A Silence in Afro-American Critical Practice 1

2. The Dominant American Literary Establishment and the Production of the Afro-American Text 23

3. Sixties' Social Movements, the Literary Establishment, and the Production of the Afro-American Text 48

4. History, the Black Nationalist Discourse, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 64

5. History, the Feminist Discourse, and The Third Life of Grange Copeland 86

6. History, the Blues Idiom Style, and Train Whistle Guitar 107

7. The Song of Morrison's Sula: History, Mythical Thought, and the Production of the Afro-American Historical Past 132

8. The Post-Sixties, the Ideological Apparatus, and the Afro-American Text 158

Notes 174

Bibliography 183
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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-0676-4