Gloria Naylor: Critical Perspectives Past and Present

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Henry Louis Gates, Anthony Appiah
St Martins Press, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 322 pages
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"Gloria Naylor's first published book of fiction won her the American Book Award. The Women of Brewster Place was a dramatic launch for a successful literary career that is still on the ascendant. Like Alice Walker, Naylor has earned a reputation associated with both critical and commercial success; she is respected in academic circles and acknowledged in the world of popular culture. Both have had a best-selling novel translated into successful movies. Both are recognized as well for speaking out for the rights of women and on other social issues." "Gloria Naylor: Critical Perspectives Past and Present documents the contributions of her work to the African-American and American literary traditions. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and K. A. Appiah collected reviews that, Gates says, "attest to Naylor's important, if sometimes controversial, place in the expanding canon of American letters." Culled from newspapers and magazines, reviews from writers such as Donna Rifkind have identified her as having a "commanding fictional voice" that "at its best, it's the kind of voice that moves you along as if you were dreaming. But it runs the risk, at its worst, of overpowering the voices of her own carefully imagined characters."" "Naylor's work impresses scholars in part because she herself is one. Her novels are ambitious creations often inspired by her appreciation of literary masters such as Shakespeare, Dante, Morrison. Linden Hills, for example, is an adaptation of Dante's Inferno, while Mama Day wears the impression of Shakespeare's The Tempest and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon." "Gates and Appiah make the point, though, that Naylor is her own person. In one of the essays chosen for this volume Peter Erickson writes, "Naylor's work provides a valuable test case for how we are going to formulate a multicultural approach to literary studies. Naylor's interest in Shakespeare neither translates into kinship nor supports a mode of continuity; the main note is rather one of conflict and difference.... Shakespeare does not assimilate Naylor; Naylor assimilates Shakespeare."" "This unique and revealing collection includes the wisdom and insight of other important figures in contemporary literature as well as a chronology of Naylor's life and career. There are novelists Rita Mae Brown, Bharati Mukherjee, and Sherley Ann Williams, as well as Barbara Christian, author of Black Feminist Literary Criticism. These informed perspectives offer academics and lay readers alike insight into Naylor the artist and Naylor the woman."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Contents

Linden Hills 1985
7
Mama Day 1988
13
Baileys Cafe 1992
26
Copyright

14 other sections not shown

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About the author (1993)

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was born on September 16, 1950, in Keyser, West Virginia. He received a degree in history from Yale University in 1973 and a Ph.D. from Clare College, which is part of the University of Cambridge in 1979. He is a leading scholar of African-American literature, history, and culture. He began working on the Black Periodical Literature Project, which uncovered lost literary works published in 1800s. He rediscovered what is believed to be the first novel published by an African-American in the United States. He republished the 1859 work by Harriet E. Wilson, entitled Our Nig, in 1983. He has written numerous books including Colored People: A Memoir, A Chronology of African-American History, The Future of the Race, Black Literature and Literary Theory, and The Signifying Monkey: Towards a Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism. In 1991, he became the head of the African-American studies department at Harvard University. He is now the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at the university. He wrote and produced several documentaries including Wonders of the African World, America Beyond the Color Line, and African American Lives. He has also hosted PBS programs such as Wonders of the African World, Black in Latin America, and Finding Your Roots.

Kwame Anthony Appiah was born in 1954 in London and raised in Ghana. After graduating with a degree in philosophy from Cambridge University, he taught at Yale, Duke, and Cornell universities. He is currently a professor of Philosophy and African American Studies at Harvard University. Appiah has written on such topics as language in Assertion and Conditional and For Truth in Semantics, and racial philosophy and identities in Color Conscious and In My Father's House. In addition to his scholarly publications, Appiah is the author of the popular Sir Patrick Scott Series of mysteries. In this series, which includes Avenging Angel and Another Death in Venice, Barrister Patrick Scott uses his intellectual skills to solve murders in a most British fashion.

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