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Week 10

Comparisons of:
  • Richard Wright Black Boy (1945)
  • Ralph Ellison Invisible Man (1952)
  • Toni Morrison Jazz (1992)
  • Barack Obama Dreams from my Father (1996)
Review of term's work
Try to use preparation time for this week's seminar to review and revise the term's work.  Look at the points for discussion published on each week's web page and think more about them in the light of seminar discussions. In particular look (again) at the secondary reading, and decide which has been most useful for you. If you think you might write on a term one topic, start formulating an area that interests you and looking for a provisional title now, while the work is still fresh in your mind.

Christopher Bigsby. “What, then, is the American?” The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 1-32.

Neil Campbell & Alasdair Kean. "Introduction," "New Beginnings: American culture and identity," & "Ethnicity and Immigration." American Cultural Studies. Routledge, second revised edition, 2006, 1-73.

Jim Cullen. "Introduction," "Chapter 6," "Conclusion." The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation.  Oxford University Press, 2004.

Sally Peltier Harvey. "Self, Community, and Success." Redefining the American Dream : The Novels of Willa Cather.  Rutherford, N.J. : Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1995, 3-20.

Jonathan Raban. "The Biggest Department Store in the World." Hunting Mister Heartbreak. London: Collins Harvill, 1990, 55-124.

 Mark Asquith. Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain and Postcards. London: Continuum, 2009.

Neil Campbell & Alasdair Kean. "African Americans: 'I don't sing other people's voices'." American Cultural Studies. Second revised edition. Routledge, 2006, 74-99. (Because of copyright restrictions, you will need to consult a hard copy in the library.)

Jerry W. Ward Jr. "Everybody's Protest Novel: the Richard Wright Era." The Cambridge Companion to The African American Novel. Ed. Maryemma Graham. CUP, 2004, 173-188.

Carolyn Camp. "The Rhetoric of Catalogues in Richard Wright's Black Boy." MELUS. 17, 4 (Winter, 1991 - Winter, 1992): 29-39.

C W E Bigsby & Roger Thompson.  “The Black Experience.”   Eds. Malcolm Bradbury & Howard Temperley. Introduction to American Studies. Third edition. Longman, 1998, 150-177. 

Werner Sollors. "African Americans since 1900." Ed. Christopher Bigsby. The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 153-173.

Ralph Ellison. "Richard Wright's Blues." (1943) Shadow and Act. Vintage, 1972.  77-94.

Henry Louis Gates. "The Trope of the Talking Book." The Signifying Monkey:  a theory of African-American literary criticism. Oxford University Press, 1988, 127-169 & 272-275.

Toni Morrison. Playing in the Dark: whiteness and the literary imagination. Harvard University Press, 1992, v-xiii & 1-17.

John Hope Franklin & Alfred A Moss Jr. From Slavery to Freedom. 7th edition. McGraw Hill, 1994, 461-491. (I recommend this for contextual information; you may want to consult a hard copy in the library and read further chapters.)

Werner Sollors. "African Americans since 1900." Ed. Christopher Bigsby. The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 153-173.

Ralph Ellison. "Richard Wright's Blues." (1943) Shadow and Act. Vintage, 1972.  77-94.

Darryl Pinckney review essay, "Dreams from Obama". New York Review of Books. March 6, 2008.

If this isn't enough, look at the suggestions for further reading as well:

My Antonia 

The Great Gatsby

Invisible Man

And don't forget to double check the short list of recommended texts on the module information page.