Invisible Cities in the Afro-American Novel
In this groundbreaking book Charles Scruggs identifies the black urban experience as a driving force behind the twentieth-century Afro-American novel, resulting in a rich fictional tradition that runs from Paul Laurence Dunbar's The Sport of the Gods through Toni Morrison's Beloved.
Scruggs begins by discussing the treatment of the Great Migration to the city in Afro-American writing from W. E. B. DuBois and Dunbar through the Harlem writers, establishing both the continuities and breaks between that tradition and that of the writers coming after the Depression. He then considers how four post-Harlem Renaissance novelists—Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison—conceive of the modern city. Scruggs shows how these four writers see the Afro-American's relationship to elite, popular, and mass forms of culture in city life. He also explores the ways in which their writing presents "alternative spaces" that exist alongside of, and often counter to, the visible configurations of the dominant culture.
About the Author
Charles Scruggs is professor of English at the University of Arizona. He is the author of The Sage in Harlem: H. L. Mencken and the Black Writers of the 1920s.
A substantial contribution to both the discourse of defining the African American literary tradition and the exegesis of the literature of the American city.
This work will be hard to ignore, for it addresses the challenges to and possibilities for African Americans in cities now and incenturies to come.
Other Titles by Charles Scruggs
Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
Other Titles in Literature: history & criticism