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Race, Gender, & Comparative Black Modernism


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Jennifer Wilks is Associate Professor in the Departments of English, and African and African Diaspora Studies, College of Liberal Arts.
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Race, Gender, and Comparative Black Modernism revives and critiques four African American and Francophone Caribbean women writers sometimes overlooked in discussions of early twentieth-century literature: Guadeloupean Suzanne Lacascade (dates unknown), African American Marita Bonner (1899-1971), Martinican Suzanne C├ęsaire (1913-1966), and African American Dorothy West (1907-1998). Reexamining their most significant work, Jennifer M. Wilks shows how their writing challenges prevailing racial archetypes--such as the New Negro and the Negritude hero--of the period from the 1920s to the 1940s, and explores how these writers tapped into modernist currents from expressionism to surrealism to produce progressive treatments of race, gender, and nation which differed from those of currently canonized black writers of the era, the great majority of whom are men.



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