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An Anthology of Interracial Literature: Black-White Contacts in the Old World and the New written by Werner Sollors


An Anthology of Interracial Literature: Black-White Contacts in the Old World and the New written by Werner Sollors


A white knight meets his half-black half-brother in battle. A black hero marries a white woman. A slave mother kills her child by a rapist-master. A white-looking person of partly African ancestry passes for white. A master and a slave change places for a single night. An interracial marriage turns sour. The birth of a child brings a crisis. Such are some of the story lines to be found within the pages of An Anthology of Interracial Literature.

This is the first anthology to explore the literary theme of black-white encounters, of love and family stories that cross—or are crossed by—what came to be considered racial boundaries. The anthology extends from Cleobolus' ancient Greek riddle to tormented encounters in the modern United States, visiting along the way a German medieval chivalric romance, excerpts from Arabian Nights and Italian Renaissance novellas, scenes and plays from Spain, Denmark, England, and the United States, as well as essays, autobiographical sketches, and numerous poems. The authors of the selections include some of the great names of world literature interspersed with lesser-known writers. Themes of interracial love and family relations, passing, and the figure of the Mulatto are threaded through the volume.

An Anthology of Interracial Literature allows scholars, students, and general readers to grapple with the extraordinary diversity in world literature. As multi-racial identification becomes more widespread the ethnic and cultural roots of world literature takes on new meaning.

Contributors include: Hans Christian Andersen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles W. Chesnutt, Lydia MariaChild, Kate Chopin, Countee Cullen, Caroline Bond Day, Rita Dove, Alexandre Dumas, Olaudah Equiano, Langston Hughes, Victor Hugo, Charles Johnson, Adrienne Kennedy, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Guy de Maupassant, Claude McKay, Eugene O'Neill, Alexander Pushkin, and Jean Toomer.

Library Journal

Sollors (English literature & Afro-American studies, Harvard) has compiled the first scholarly anthology that centers on the theme in literature of love and family across, or crossed by, racial boundaries. As Sollors explains in the introduction, "It is a theme that makes for unusual intersections of the plots of love and family relations with issues of society and politics." The anthology contains a broad range of texts, including epics, poems, and novellas, and spans numerous cultures from the ancient to the contemporary. The authors included range from Hans Christian Andersen and Alexander Pushkin to Eugene O'Neill and Gwendolyn Brooks. One is reminded that color was an accidental quality in antiquity and the Christian Middle Ages; that during later times, censure existed; and that, in the United States in particular, interracial marriage bans were not deemed unconstitutional until 1967. As stated in a Rita Dove play: "A sniff of freedom's all it takes to feel history's sting." Recommended for academic libraries and for any reader working around the race rubric.-Scott Hightower, Fordham Univ., New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Title: An Anthology of Interracial Literature: Black-White Contacts in the Old World and the New

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