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The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature written by Valerie Lee

 

The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature written by Valerie Lee

Overview:

Encompassing Pulitzer Prize winners Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Rita Dove, national icons Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni, and prominent cult figures Zora Neale Hurston and Octavia Butler, African American women's literature is one of the fastest growing areas of American literature today. The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature is the first comprehensive collection of African American women's literature available today. It covers all historical periods, from the 18th century up through the early years of the 21st century; and all genres: from poems, essays, journal entries, and short stories to novels and black feminist criticism. Organized by three principles—chronology, genre, and theme—Lee's anthology includes questions for thought and discussion at the end of each writing.

Synopsis:

Encompassing Pulitzer Prize winners Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Rita Dove, national icons Maya Angelou and Nikki African Giovanni, and prominent cult figures Zora Neale Hurston and Octavia Butler, African American women's literature is the one of the fastest growing areas of American literature today. This is the first comprehensive anthology of African American women's literature.

This is the only book that covers all historical periods, from the 18th century up through the early years of the 21st century; and all genres: from poems, essays, journal entries, and short stories to novels and black feminist criticism.

An exciting and interested reader for anyone who wants a comprehensive package of African-American women's writings.

Library Journal

Phillis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, Terry McMillan, bell hooks, and many other African American women appear together in this comprehensive collection, which ranges from the Colonial and antebellum periods to the new millennium. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Excerpt:

"Because each had discovered years before that they were neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they set about creating something else to be."
— SULA

There are many anthologies of American Literature, a growing number of anthologies of women's literature, and several noteworthy ones of African American Literature. The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature represents the first comprehensive anthology of its kind. This volume spans all the historical periods from 1746 when Lucy Terry Prince wrote the first work by an African American to the New Millennium texts of Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. The time periods run from Colonial and Antebellum, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Aesthetic Movement, the Second Renaissance of the late 1970s to 1990s, ending with literature of the 21 st century. In total, rather than the usual sprinkling of African American women writers found in anthologies, The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature parades more than seventy-five authors.

Equally comprehensive are the many genres that this volume covers. Expansive in its definitions, the volume contains autobiographies, spiritual narratives, letters, slave narratives, neo-slave narratives, detective fiction, genteel fiction, folk stories, science fiction, romances, historical fiction, melodramas, surrealistic dramas, dramatic monologues, lyrics, ballads, sonnets, choreopoems, prose poems, and all types of genre hybrids. In addition to breadth in terms of chronology and genre, the themes explore the full range of the human imagination. Informed and inflected by the distinctive voice of African American women, the writings comment upon art and the imagination, bodies and blackness, heritage and history, citizenship and nationhood, interracial relationships and conflicts, language and literacy, sexual harassment and violence, slavery and its aftermath, to name a few.

As a supplement to the primary materials, the anthology offers readers aids to increase understanding and appreciation of the works. Essays by Jacqueline Jones Royster, "An Era of Resistance: 19th-Century African American Women's Writings," and Valerie Lee, "Expansion, Experimentation, and Excellence: 20th- & 21st-Century African American Women's Writings, help to historicize and contextualize the readings. These essays, along with biographies of each author, provide a lens whereby readers can frame the texts. The map of where the authors were born is a distinctive addition to the field of African American literature and culture, as well as the timeline that focuses on African American women's literary history and culture. In sum, this is a student-friendly collection of some of the best literature in America's treasury of the arts.

To paraphrase the epigraph from Sula, "Because African American women had discovered years before that they were neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they set about creating something else to be." That something else is a wordsmith, a teller of tales arid poems befitting their status as sistah conjurers.

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Title: The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Women's Literature

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