The Tragic Black Buck: Racial Masquerading in the American Literary Imagination (Revised)

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Product Details
Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Publish Date
5.83 X 8.82 X 0.47 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author
The Author: Carlyle Van Thompson is Associate Professor of African American and American Literature at Medgar Evers College, the City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. In addition to numerous articles in professional journals and book reviews, he wrote a provocative article on Abner Louima and white male police brutality in New York City.
«Carlyle Van Thompson's study of black maleness as forms of mask and masquerade is brilliantly driving and fresh in its exploration of novels we thought we knew well. Boldest of all is Professor Thompson's discernment of the 'black buck' standing behind the flashy white exteriors of Jay Gatsby; but every chapter here has its audacious new findings. 'The Tragic Black Buck' will change the way we read canonical American literature as well as the current American scene, where masking and double-masking seem to define so much in our national identities. This book is a triumph.» (Robert G. O'Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University)
«'The Tragic Black Buck' is a worthy successor to the sort of imaginative literary reconstruction initiated in Toni Morrison's 'Playing in the Dark'. Her suggestive program of reading blackness as the implicit backdrop of white American literary and cultural identities is richly fleshed out in Carlyle Van Thompson's impressive volume. Joining Charles Waddell Chesnutt, James Weldon Johnson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner in a single volume is a stroke of vivid literary reading. Too rarely have we had literary investigations that examine towering white and black figures as co-creators of an artistic convention and cultural practice. Thompson's interweaving of biographical and cultural features of these writers' lives and their novels furthers his sagacious argument about racial passing as a complex, evolving, and hence multi-textured practice and identity. The virtue of such a move is that it underscores how a racial practice like passing is never simply a one-sided affair. Professor Thompson shows us in lucid fashion how white and black identities are never the sole possession of black and white people. Blackness and whiteness are created out of the complex and intricate interplay between cultural, racial, and social forces that are larger than a fastidiously bi-polar paradigm suggests.» (Michael Eric Dyson, Avaion Foundation Professor of Humanities and African-American Studies, the University of Pennsylvania)