Domestic Allegories of Political Desire: The Black Heroine's Text at the Turn of the Century
Why did African-American women novelists use idealized stories of bourgeois courtship and marriage to mount arguments on social reform during the last decade of the nineteenth century, during a time when resurgent racism conditioned the lives of all black Americans? Such stories now seem like apolitical fantasies to contemporary readers. This is the question at the center of Tate's examination of the novels of Pauline Hopkins, Emma Kelley, Amelia Johnson, Katherine Tillman, and Frances Harper. Domestic Allegories of Political Desire is more than a literary study; it is also a social and intellectual history--a cultural critique of a period that historian Rayford W. Logan called "the Dark Ages of recent American history." Against a rich contextual framework, extending from abolitionist protest to the Black Aesthetic, Tate argues that the idealized marriage plot in these novels does not merely depict the heroine's happiness and economic prosperity. More importantly, that plot encodes a resonant cultural narrative--a domestic allegory--about the political ambitions of an emancipated people. Once this domestic allegory of political desire is unmasked in these novels, it can be seen as a significant discourse of the post-Reconstruction era for representing African-Americans' collective dreams about freedom and for reconstructing those contested dreams into consummations of civil liberty.
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1 Maternal Discourses as Antebellum Social Protest
2 Legacies of Intersecting Cultural Conventions
Locating a Gendered and Historicized Model of Interpretation
4 Allegories of Gender and Class as Discourses of Political Desire
5 Sexual Discourses of Political Reform of the PostReconstruction Era
6 Revising the Patriarchal Texts of Husband and Wife in Real and Fictive Worlds
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Domestic Allegories of Political Desire: The Black Heroine's Text at the ...
Limited preview - 1992
African Americans Afro-American Angelina Weld Grimké antebellum authority Bellmont Beryl Weston's Ambition black female black male black women writers black women's post-Reconstruction bourgeois Carby chapter character civil Clancy Street Clarence and Corinne constructions Contending Forces context conventions Cottage City courtship cultural depicted discourse discussion dominant Douglass feminine Frado Frances E. W. Harper Frederick Douglass freedom Future references appear gender Grimké’s Hagar's Daughter Harper Hazeley Family heroine heroine's Hopkins Hopkins's husband idealized domestic ideology interracial intraracial Iola Leroy Iola's Janie's Kelley-Hawkins's late-twentieth-century readers literary marriage maternal Megda moral Mossell mother motherhood Negro nineteenth-century oppression Oxford University Press patriarchal plot political desire post-Reconstruction domestic novels post-Reconstruction era race literature Rachel racial protest racist reading Reconstruction references appear parenthetically Reprint roles romantic love Sappho sentimental sexual slave narratives slavery social society spiritual story strategy Tillman tion traditional Uncle Tom's Cabin Victorian viewpoint Wilson Winona woman womanhood writing York
Page 3 - Ah wanted to preach a great sermon about colored women sittin' on high, but they wasn't no pulpit for me. Freedom found me wid a baby daughter in mah arms, so Ah said Ah'd take a broom and a cook-pot and throw up a highway through de wilderness for her. She would expound what Ah felt. But somehow she got lost offa de highway and next thing Ah knowed here you was in de world. So whilst Ah was tendin' you of nights Ah said Ah'd save de text for you.