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Black, White, and in Color

Essays on American Literature and Culture

Black, White, and in Color offers a long-awaited collection of major essays by Hortense Spillers, one of the most influential and inspiring black critics of the past twenty years. Spanning her work from the early 1980s, in which she pioneered a broadly poststructuralist approach to African American literature, and extending through her turn to cultural studies in the 1990s, these essays display her passionate commitment to reading as a fundamentally political act-one pivotal to rewriting the humanist project.

Spillers is best known for her race-centered revision of psychoanalytic theory and for her subtle account of the relationships between race and gender. She has also given literary criticism some of its most powerful readings of individual authors, represented here in seminal essays on Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, and William Faulkner. Ultimately, the essays collected in Black, White, and in Color all share Spillers’s signature style: heady, eclectic, and astonishingly productive of new ideas. Anyone interested in African American culture and literature will want to read them.

570 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2003

Black Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: American and Canadian Literature

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

Introduction- Peter’s Pans: Eating in the Diaspora
1. Ellison’s "Usable Past": Toward a Theory of Myth
2. Formalism Comes to Harlem
3. A Hateful Passion, A Lost Love: Three Women’s Fiction
4. Gwendolyn the Terrible: Propositions on Eleven Poems
5. "An Order of Constancy": Notes on Brooks and the Feminine
6. Interstices: A Small Drama of Words
7. Changing the Letter: The Yokes, the Jokes of Discourse, or, Mrs. Stowe, Mr. Reed
8. Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book
9. "The Permanent Obliquity of an In(pha)llibly Straight": In the Time of the Daughters and the Fathers
10. Moving on Down the Line: Variations on the African-American Sermon
11. Black, White, and in Color, or Learning How to Paint: Toward an Intramural Protocol of Reading
12. Notes on an Alternative Model—Neither/Nor
13. Who Cuts the Border? Some Readings on America
14. Faulkner Adds Up: Reading Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury
15. "All the Things You Could Be by Now, If Sigmund Freud’s Wife was Your Mother": Psychoanalysis and Race
16. The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Post-Date

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