Acting Out: Performance Theory in African and African American Literature

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AuthorHouse, 2006 - African Americans in literature - 192 pages
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John Glenn's innovative criticism champions the connection between African and African American literature, unfolding a new theory that elaborates on the black experience itself. Linking resistance to the literary history and to the expressiveness of blacks, Glenn provides the basis for a study of African and African American fiction at the social level. He shows how empiricism and action are both central to African and African American methods of social adaptation or "acting out." Investigating performance in black literature by exploring the social resistance and adaptation of fictional archetypes, Glenn elaborates what he calls the three performative modes: linguistic, narrative, and theatrical-modes that describe the interaction of fictional characters. Glenn's critical approach analyzes the work of major authors in African and African American literature, including Chinua Achebe, Ralph Ellison, Sam Greenlee, Buchi Emecheta, Wole Soyinka, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Okot p'Bitek, and Paul Laurence Dunbar-showing that these author's works are performative in context. A remarkable piece of work, Glenn's book examines the nature of the African diaspora. It looks within the action of performance to categorize self-identity. Through a pleasing tenacity, his research makes the black community as a whole aware of an "acting out" niche, which has paved an enduring road through black oppression. Truly, this book is a great contribution to African and African American literature.

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