Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation

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Barbara A. Baker
University of Alabama Press, Jun 29, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 249 pages
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This collection consists of essays written by prominent African American literature, jazz, and Albert Murray scholars, reminiscences from Murray protégés and associates, and interviews with Murray himself. It illustrates Murray’s place as a central figure in African American arts and letters and as an American cultural pioneer. Born in Nokomis, Alabama, and raised in Mobile, Albert Murray graduated from TuskegeeUniversity, where he later taught, but he has long resided in New York City. He is the author of many critically acclaimed novels, memoirs, and essay collections, among them The Omni-Americans, South to a Very Old Place, Train Whistle Guitar, The Spyglass Tree, and The Seven League Boots. He is also a critic and visual artist, as well as a lifelong friend of and collaborator with artistic luminaries such as Ralph Ellison, Duke Ellington, and Romare Bearden. As such, his life and work are testaments to the centrality of southern and African American aesthetics in American art. Murray is widely viewed as a figure who, through his art and criticism, transforms the “fakelore” of white culture into a new folklore that illustrates the centrality of the blues and jazz idioms and reveals the black vernacular as what is most distinct about American art.

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Observations Interpretations and Conversations
Reminiscences and Appreciations
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About the author (2010)

Barbara A. Baker is Director of the Women's Leadership Institute and Associate Professor at Auburn University. She is the author of The Blues Aesthetic and the Making of American Identity in the Literature of the South. Anne-Katrin Gramberg is Professor of German and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University.

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