Liberating Voices: Oral Tradition in African American Literature

by Gayl Jones

Harvard | May 1, 1991 | Hardcover

Not yet rated | write a review

The powerful novelist here turns penetrating critic, giving us-in lively style-both trenchant literary analysis and fresh insight on the art of writing.

"When African American writers began to trust the literary possibilities of their own verbal and musical creations," writes Gayl Jones, they began to transform the European and European American models, and to gain greater artistic sovereignty." The vitality of African American literature derives from its incorporation of traditional oral forms: folktales, riddles, idiom, jazz rhythms, spirituals, and blues. Jones traces the development of this literature as African American writers, celebrating their oral heritage, developed distinctive literary forms.

The twentieth century saw a new confidence and deliberateness in African American work: the move from surface use of dialect to articulation of a genuine black voice; the move from blacks portrayed for a white audience to characterization relieved of the need to justify. Innovative writing-such as Charles Waddell Chesnutt's depiction of black folk culture, Langston Hughes's poetic use of blues, and Amiri Baraka's recreation of the short story as a jazz piece-redefined Western literary tradition.

For Jones, literary technique is never far removed from its social and political implications. She documents how literary form is inherently and intensely national, and shows how the European monopoly on acceptable forms for literary art stifled American writers both black and white. Jones is especially eloquent in describing the dilemma of the African American writers: to write from their roots yet retain a universal voice; to merge the power and fluidity of oral tradition with the structure needed for written presentation. With this work Gayl Jones has added a new dimension to African American literary history.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 228 pages, 9.25 × 6.14 × 0.04 in

Published: May 1, 1991

Publisher: Harvard

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0674530241

ISBN - 13: 9780674530249

save
5%

Out of stock Sorry, this item has sold out and may be re-stocked in the future. Hurry, only 0 left! Not yet released

$71.50  ea

Online Price

$71.50 List Price

Cart

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Reviews

– More About This Product –

Liberating Voices: Oral Tradition in African American Literature

by Gayl Jones

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 228 pages, 9.25 × 6.14 × 0.04 in

Published: May 1, 1991

Publisher: Harvard

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0674530241

ISBN - 13: 9780674530249

From the Publisher

The powerful novelist here turns penetrating critic, giving us-in lively style-both trenchant literary analysis and fresh insight on the art of writing.

"When African American writers began to trust the literary possibilities of their own verbal and musical creations," writes Gayl Jones, they began to transform the European and European American models, and to gain greater artistic sovereignty." The vitality of African American literature derives from its incorporation of traditional oral forms: folktales, riddles, idiom, jazz rhythms, spirituals, and blues. Jones traces the development of this literature as African American writers, celebrating their oral heritage, developed distinctive literary forms.

The twentieth century saw a new confidence and deliberateness in African American work: the move from surface use of dialect to articulation of a genuine black voice; the move from blacks portrayed for a white audience to characterization relieved of the need to justify. Innovative writing-such as Charles Waddell Chesnutt's depiction of black folk culture, Langston Hughes's poetic use of blues, and Amiri Baraka's recreation of the short story as a jazz piece-redefined Western literary tradition.

For Jones, literary technique is never far removed from its social and political implications. She documents how literary form is inherently and intensely national, and shows how the European monopoly on acceptable forms for literary art stifled American writers both black and white. Jones is especially eloquent in describing the dilemma of the African American writers: to write from their roots yet retain a universal voice; to merge the power and fluidity of oral tradition with the structure needed for written presentation. With this work Gayl Jones has added a new dimension to African American literary history.

Item not added

This item is not available to order at this time.

See used copies from 00.00
  • My Gift List
  • My Wish List
  • Shopping Cart