The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South Louisiana State University Press

ISBN: 9780807142554

Published: June 1st 2009

ebook

264 pages


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The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South  by  Louisiana State University Press

The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South by Louisiana State University Press
June 1st 2009 | ebook | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, RTF | 264 pages | ISBN: 9780807142554 | 8.23 Mb

New Yorker James Baldwin once declared that a black man can look at a map of the United States, contemplate the area south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and thus scare himself to death. In The Scary Mason-Dixon Line, renowned literary scholar TrudierMoreNew Yorker James Baldwin once declared that a black man can look at a map of the United States, contemplate the area south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and thus scare himself to death.

In The Scary Mason-Dixon Line, renowned literary scholar Trudier Harris explores why black writers, whether born in Mississippi, New York, or elsewhere, have consistently both loved and hated the South. Harris explains that for these authors the South represents not so much a place or even a culture as a rite of passage. Not one of them can consider himself or herself a true African American writer without confronting the idea of the South in a decisive way.

Harris considers native-born black southerners Raymond Andrews, Ernest J. Gaines, Edward P. Jones, Tayari Jones, Yusef Komunyakaa, Randall Kenan, and Phyllis Alesia Perry, and nonsouthern writers James Baldwin, Sherley Anne Williams, and Octavia E. Butler. The works Harris examines date from Baldwins Blues for Mr. Charlie (1964) to Edward P. Joness The Known World (2003). By including Komunyakaas poems and Baldwins play, as well as male and female authors, Harris demonstrates that the writers preoccupation with the South cuts across lines of genre and gender.Whether their writings focus on slavery, migration from the South to the North, or violence on southern soil, and whether they celebrate the triumph of black southern heritage over repression or castigate the South for its treatment of blacks, these authors cannot escape the call of the South.

Indeed, Harris asserts that creative engagement with the South represents a defining characteristic of African American writing.A singular work by one of the foremost literary scholars writing today, The Scary Mason-Dixon Line superbly demonstrates how history and memory continue to figure powerfully in African American literary creativity.



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