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"Charles W. Chesnutt and The Race Question at the Turn of the TwentiethCentury" Syllabus

Recently, I just finished reading Charles W. Chesnutt’s “The Future American” (1900) and The Quarry¬†(1928) for a paper I am writing. As I read Chesnutt’s last novel, I started to think about a possible syllabus that would use Chesnutt as a focal point to explore “the race question” at the turn of the twentieth century. I have posted syllabi such as “African American Crime … Read More "Charles W. Chesnutt and The Race Question at the Turn of the TwentiethCentury" Syllabus

Some Thoughts about Amelia E. Johnson’s "Clarence and Corinne; or, God’s Way"

Recently, I wrote about Paul Laurence Dunbar’s The Love of Landry (1900), a novel that focuses on white characters and the frontier. Along those same lines, I want to briefly discuss another novel from the late nineteenth century by an African American author that focuses on non-racialized characters. Amelia Johnson’s Clarence and Corinne; or, God’s Way (1890) originally appeared as a religious tract published … Read More Some Thoughts about Amelia E. Johnson’s "Clarence and Corinne; or, God’s Way"

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and the Antebellum Slave Narrative

Back in October, I wrote about the controversy from some sectors that arose when the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens appeared on Monday Night Football. With the distance of a few months, and upon recently watching the film again, I want to provide a possible way of looking at this film in regards to American literary history. As I sat at home … Read More "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and the Antebellum Slave Narrative

Mold, Spores, and The Planetary South: Further Comments on "Adjust Your Maps: Manifestos from, for, and about United States Southern Studies"

Last post, I wrote about a couple of the manifestos on Southern Studies that appear in the current issue of PMLA. Today, I want to continue this discussion by exploring a couple more manifestos, most notably Katharine Burnett’s and R. Scott Heath’s pieces. These essays reach back, to a period typically overlooked, and forward, from a new, interplanetary viewpoint. Here, I want to comment … Read More Mold, Spores, and The Planetary South: Further Comments on "Adjust Your Maps: Manifestos from, for, and about United States Southern Studies"

Tim Gautreaux’s "Dancing with the One-Armed Gal" and Education

In the past, I have written about education in Tim Gautreaux’s “Welding With Children” and “Misuse of Light.” Today, I want to briefly write about the way he explores ideas of identity in relation to the academy in  “Dancing with the One-Armed Gal,” the concluding story of Gautreaux’s short story collection Welding With Children (1999). In the story, Iry Boudreaux gets laid off from … Read More Tim Gautreaux’s "Dancing with the One-Armed Gal" and Education

Interracial Relationships in Toomer’s "Bona and Paul"

Thinking about the idea of white womanhood in Toomer’s “Becky” and African American womanhood in “Blood Burning-Moon,” I commented that the concluding vignette of the Northern section, “Bona and Paul,” contains some similarities to the two Southern vignettes. “Bona and Paul” focuses on two Southerners, Paul, a phenotypically white male who tentatively starts a relationship with a white co-ed Bona. Looking at “Bona and … Read More Interracial Relationships in Toomer’s "Bona and Paul"

Representation of Womanhood in Jean Toomer’s "Becky" and "Blood-Burning Moon"

While white womanhood gets held up as a representation of the “idyllic” and “virginal” South, African American womanhood becomes something tainted and only seen as a product rather than as a human being. This image appears throughout literature fro Harriett Jacobs’s account of her life in Incidents of the Life of a Slave Girl to the way that Jimmy Caya tells Tee Bob he … Read More Representation of Womanhood in Jean Toomer’s "Becky" and "Blood-Burning Moon"

Reflections on the 2016 College Language Association Conference

Last week, I attended the College Language Association’s (CLA) 2016 conference in Houston, TX. While there, I presented on Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Dayton Tattler and the role of the press in Dunbar’s writing. While that, in and of itself, made the conference something worthwhile for me professionally, I experienced things that I have only encountered at a few other academic gatherings. Yes, I heard … Read More Reflections on the 2016 College Language Association Conference

Suffocation and Concealment through Dust in Faulkner’s "Dry September"

After writing about Ellen Glasgow’s “Jordan’s End,” I picked up William Faulkner’s “Dry September” (1931). While not necessarily in the exact same narrative vein, Faulkner’s story, as with his other works, highlight the ideas of the Southern Gothic, specifically a place of suffocating oppression that does not resemble the idyllic region that authors sought to “recapture” after Reconstruction during the latter part of the … Read More Suffocation and Concealment through Dust in Faulkner’s "Dry September"

Reconstructing and Learning from the Past in Attica Locke’s "The Cutting Season"

Attica Locke At the beginning of Ernest J. Gaines’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971), Mary asks the unnamed history teacher why he wants to interview Miss Jane. He tells her that he teaches history and that his students would benefit from Jane’s story because “Miss Jane is not in [their history books]” (v). Because of this omission, like the missing pages in … Read More Reconstructing and Learning from the Past in Attica Locke’s "The Cutting Season"

Historical Terminology in Attica Locke’s "The Cutting Season"

Last October, Roni Dean-Burren posted a photo of a map that appeared in her son’s American History textbook in Texas. The map shows patterns of immigration in the United States. Pointing towards the Carolinas, the caption about the forced immigration of Africans to America where they would become slaves reads as follows: “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of … Read More Historical Terminology in Attica Locke’s "The Cutting Season"

Ellen Glasgow’s "Jordan’s End" and the Decaying South

Before the narrative starts in Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow (1946), we see a description of the contemporaneous edifice of Harrow in decay, dilapidated beyond repair. Nature has retaken the land, and the once glorious house stands as a shell of its former self. Apart from this image, the Southern Gothic and symbols of the decaying South do not necessarily appear, at least … Read More Ellen Glasgow’s "Jordan’s End" and the Decaying South