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Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature

Hack, Daniel, author

Tackling fraught but fascinating issues of cultural borrowing and appropriation, this groundbreaking book reveals that Victorian literature was put to use in African American literature and print culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in much more intricate, sustained, and imaginative ways than previously suspected. From reprinting and reframing The Charge of the Light Brigade in an antislavery newspaper to reimagining David Copperfield and Jane Eyre as mixed-race youths in the antebellum South, writers and editors transposed and transformed works by the leading British writers of the day to depict the lives of African Americans and advance their causes. Central figures in African American literary and intellectual historyincluding Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, and W.E.B. Du Boisleveraged Victorian literature and this history of engagement itself to claim a distinctive voice and construct their own literary tradition. In bringing these transatlantic transfigurations to light, this book also provides strikingly new perspectives on both canonical and little-read works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Tennyson, and other Victorian authors. The recovery of these works African American afterlives illuminates their formal practices and ideological commitments, and forces a reassessment of their cultural impact and political potential. Bridging the gap between African American and Victorian literary studies, Reaping Something New changes our understanding of both fields and rewrites an important chapter of literary history

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019
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Statement of responsibility: Daniel Hack
ISBN: 1400883741, 9781400883745
Physical Description: 304 pages : 12 b/w illus.
Subject: Literature: history & criticism; English; United States of America, USA; Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900; Literature; Literary theory; Literary studies: c 1900 to c 2000; Ethnic studies
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9780691196930