We Wear the Mask

We Wear the Mask

African Americans Write American Literature, 1760-1870

Book - 1997
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Columbia Univ Pr
Uncovers the strategies early African American writers used both to create an African American identity and to make their visions and stories accessible to white readers. Alongside these pioneers of black American literature Zafar juxtaposes some familiar European American Writers. Beginning with Phillis Wheatley's implicit engagements with other colonial era poets, and ending with the ultimately tragic success story of Elizabeth Keckley, ex-slave, seamstress, and confidante to a First Lady, black authors employed virtually every dominant literary genre while cannily manipulating the nature of their presence.

Uncovers the strategies early African American writers used both to create an African American identity and to make their visions and stories accessible to white readers. Beginning with Phillis Wheatley and John Marrant, who created popular literature by using formulas like that of the Puritan narrative, and ending with the subversive work of Harriet Jacobs and Elizabeth Keckley, Zafar argues that black writers tried every literary strategy--from mimicry and masking to invisibility--as a means of promoting empathy and as a way of transcending the attitudes of mainstream America. By the end of Reconstruction, black authors had paved the way for a distinctive African American literature.



Book News
Explores the literary achievements of Americans of African descent before they thought or wrote with the self-conscious voice of African Americans, and how they developed into that consciousness after the Civil War. Looks at Phillis Wheatley, Joel Barlow, Ann Eliza Bleecker, African Americans among the puritans, Henry Bibb and William Wells Brown, the blackwoman in the attic, Elizabeth Keckley's Behind the Scenes at the White House , Eliza Potter's A Hairdresser's Experience in High Life , and the beginnings of African American literature. Versions of a couple chapters have been published separately. Paper edition (08095-6), $17.50. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, c1997
ISBN: 9780231080941
0231080948
9780231080958
0231080956
Characteristics: xi, 249 p. ; 24 cm

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