The Signifying Monkey

Paperback | July 4, 2014

byHenry Louis Gates

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s original, groundbreaking study explores the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examiningthe ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, and particularly the Yoruba trickster figure of Esu-Elegbara and the Signifying Monkey whose myths help articulate the black tradition's theory of its literature, Gates uncovers a unique system of interpretationand a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World. His critical approach relies heavily on the Signifying Monkey--perhaps the most popular figure in African-American folklore--and signification and Signifyin(g). Exploring signification in black American lifeand literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the "Talking Book," a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters. Gates uses this criticalframework to examine several major works of African-American literature--including Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo--revealing how these works signify on the black tradition and on each other. The second volume in anenterprising trilogy on African-American literature, The Signifying Monkey--which expands the arguments of Figures in Black--makes an important contribution to literary theory, African-American literature, folklore, and literary history.

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s original, groundbreaking study explores the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examiningthe ancient poetry and myths found in African,...

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is Chairman of the Department of Afro-American Studies and W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.

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The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:July 4, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195136470

ISBN - 13:9780195136470

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