The Blues Detective: A Study of African American Detective Fiction

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 260 pages
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A study of African American detective fiction which includes writers such as J.E. Bruce, Rudolph Fisher, Chester Himes, Ishmael Reed and Clarence Major. Themes such as altered detective personas, double-consciousness detection, black vernaculars and hoodoo are examined in the text.

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The Paradigmatic Gesture
The Tropes of Black Detection
Early African American Adaptations of Detective Conventions
Detective of the Harlem Renaissance Rudolph Fisher
City within a City The Detective Fiction off Chester Himes
The Black AntiDetective Novel

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Page 33 - sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two
Page 33 - strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. (215)
Page 17 - Observing him in these moods, I often dwelt meditatively upon the old philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul, and amused myself with the fancy of a double Dupin—the creative and the resolvent.
Page 21 - not mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man
Page 10 - Black texts employ many of the conventions of literary form that comprise the western tradition -. - but black formal repetition always repeats with a difference, a black difference that manifests itself in specific language use. And the repository that contains the language that is the source and the reflection of black difference is the black English vernacular tradition.
Page 22 - Detective fiction has its norms; to “develop” them is also to disappoint them: to “improve upon” detective fiction is to write ‘literature,” not detective fiction. The whodunit par excellence is not the one which transgresses the rules of the genre, but the one which conforms to them. (43)
Page 6 - Probably never before in history has a people been so nearly completely stripped of its social heritage as the Negroes who were brought to America

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About the author (1996)

Stephen Soitos teaches in the English department at Springfield College.

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