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Inspiriting influences : tradition, revision, and Afro-American women's novels /
Michael Awkward.
New York : Columbia University Press, c1989.
x, 178 p. ; 23 cm.
0231068069 (alk. paper)
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series title
New York : Columbia University Press, c1989.
0231068069 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1989-12:
Building on Mikhail Bakhtin's discussion of the necessity of discursive appropriation, Awkward traces the intertextual relationships at work among four novels by black women. He presents a convincing argument that Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, and Alice Walker each infuse the Western genre of the novel with the specific expressive elements of Afro-American culture. Each novelist appropriates the form (Awkward suggests a nonpejorative "denigration" of the form on their parts) to reflect an Afro-American "accent." This denigration, Awkward argues, begins with Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, which is now regarded as the precursor for Morrison's The Bluest Eye, Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place, and Walker's The Color Purple. This is a brilliant study of a specific Afro-American cultural trait that links these novels into a discernible tradition. Awkward's writing is lucid and clear, making it not only informative but pleasurable reading. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students interested in black women's fiction. -A. Deck, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1989
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