Impostors: Literary Hoaxes and Cultural Authenticity

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Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 0.7 X 9.0 inches | 0.8 pounds
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About the Author

Christopher L. Miller is the Frederick Clifford Ford Professor of African American studies and French at Yale University.


"Smart and engaging." --Louis Menand "New Yorker"
"In this fascinating study of intercultural literary hoaxes, Christopher L. Miller provides a useful, brief history of American literary impostures as a backdrop for his investigation of France's literary history of 'ethnic usurpation.' Presenting each case in a lively and engaging manner, Miller also expertly delves into critical issues of cultural authenticity through his nuanced consideration of critical theory. This beautifully written volume is an essential addition to the field."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University "New Yorker"
"In this book, Miller takes us on an exciting tour of postcolonial and world literature, guiding us through the literary maze of the real and the pretenders to the real, sorting out fact from fiction in a world where the two are often part of each other. All fiction is hoax, but not all hoax is fiction; it is just that, a hoax. In the process, he helps us think through issues of authenticity and false authenticity, identity and stolen identities. In this era of accusations and counteraccusations of fake news, I can't think of a study more relevant to our times."--Ngugi wa Thiong'o, author of Wizard of the Crow "New Yorker"
"Impostors is another brilliant intervention by Miller on representation and difference. Applying his astonishing erudition and sharp comparative eye to a variety of cases, Miller elaborates a generative theory of 'intercultural hoaxes, ' inviting us to take seriously their consequences as contentious literary events."--Lydie E. Moudileno, Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French, University of Southern California "New Yorker"
"Miller is an accomplished author and scholar, a pioneer of Francophone literature in the American academy, and his work is a touchstone for Francophone Studies more globally. There is no existing book like this one, in its particular comparative approach, in its attention to the complexities of the hoax, and what it entails for our reading praxes. In its genre, Impostors is without a doubt an original work of scholarship."--Lydie E. Moudileno, Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French, University of Southern California "Lia Brozgal, University of California, Los Angeles"

"Miller's elegant book makes one feel for the dupes who praised a work's authenticity. He shows that many found what they wanted to hear in these impostures. . . . Impostors ultimately becomes a study of the nature of authorship and the act of reading."

--Rohan McWilliam "Times Higher Education"