The American Literatures Initiative

Showing 1-6 of 21 items.

The New Negro in the Old South

Rutgers University Press

This groundbreaking historical study makes the compelling case that the culturally sophisticated and upwardly mobile figure of the New Negro first emerged long before the Harlem Renaissance or the twentieth-century Great Migration to the North. Drawing from extensive archival research, Gabriel A. Briggs reconstructs the vibrant black community that developed in Nashville after the Civil War, showing how it played a pivotal role in shaping the economic, intellectual, social, and political lives of African Americans in subsequent decades. 

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The Autobiography of Citizenship

Assimilation and Resistance in U.S. Education

Rutgers University Press

At the turn of the twentieth century, America was faced with a radically mixed population, one with a disturbing new mix of races and religions. In The Autobiography of Citizenship, Tova Cooper looks at how citizen education programs tried to impose unity on this divergent population, and how the new citizens in turn often resisted these efforts, embracing their own view of what it means to be an American. 

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American Hybrid Poetics

Gender, Mass Culture, and Form

Rutgers University Press

 American Hybrid Poetics explores the ways in which hybrid poetics—a playful mixing of disparate formal and aesthetic strategies—have been the driving force in the work of a historically and culturally diverse group of women poets who are part of a robust tradition in contesting the dominant cultural order. Amy Moorman Robbins examines the ways in which five poets—Gertrude Stein, Laura Mullen, Alice Notley, Harryette Mullen, and Claudia Rankine—use hybridity as an implicitly political strategy to interrupt and contest the language of the dominant culture as it is reproduced in genres of mainstream mass culture.

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Twentieth-Century Sentimentalism

Narrative Appropriation in American Literature

Rutgers University Press

This book argues that sentimentalism, an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary mode, is alive and well in the modern era. By examining working-class literature that adopts the rhetoric of “feeling right” in order to promote a proletarian or humanist ideology as well as neo-slave narratives that wrestle with the legacy of slavery and cultural definitions of African American families, it explores the ways contemporary authors engage with familiar sentimental clichés and ideals.

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Black Resonance

Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature

Rutgers University Press

Black Resonance analyzes writings by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Gayl Jones, and Nikki Giovanni that engage such iconic singers as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, and Aretha Franklin. The book focuses on two generations of artists from the 1920s to the 1970s; each chapter pairs one writer with one singer to crystallize the artistic practice they share: lyricism, sincerity, understatement, haunting, and the creation of a signature voice.

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Black Resonance

Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature

Rutgers University Press

Black Resonance analyzes writings by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Gayl Jones, and Nikki Giovanni that engage such iconic singers as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, and Aretha Franklin. The book focuses on two generations of artists from the 1920s to the 1970s; each chapter pairs one writer with one singer to crystallize the artistic practice they share: lyricism, sincerity, understatement, haunting, and the creation of a signature voice.

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