Racial Blasphemies: Religious Irreverence and Race in American Literature

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Taylor & Francis, Sep 1, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 208 pages
William Faulkner, James Baldwin, Flannery O'Connor, and Paule Marshall are among numerous influential American writers who tended to be irreverent, if not blasphemous, in their fiction. But rather than curse God, these authors cursed the racial hierarchies that too cleanly divide white and African American races in contemporary US politics and culture.
Racial Blasphemies, using critical race theory and literary analysis, charts the tense, frustrated religious language that saturates much twentieth-century American literature. Michael Cobb argues that we should read not for historical or theological understandings of religion. Instead, we should consider religious language as a special kind of lanaguage - a language or curse words - that furiously communicates not theology or spirituality as much as it signals the sheer difficulty of representing race in a non-racist manner on the literary page.

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About the author (2004)

Michael L. Cobb is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto. His essays on race, sexuality, and literature have appeared in Callaloo, GLQ, and the University of Toronto Quarterly.

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