The Daughter's Return: African-American and Caribbean Women's Fictions of History

By Caroline Rody | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION
1
See for example Hayden White's reconceptualization of “history” in Metahistory and elsewhere.
2
In The Historical Novel, Georg Lukacs's reading of Walter Scott develops the connection between historical fiction and nationalism (30–63).
3
Michaels offers a cogent corrective to essentialist forms of nationalist myth but goes too far in concluding that “there can be no real urgency to the study of history” (15). Such an abstract view of history ignores the weight of the past's persistence in the lives of particular peoples, its intimate inherence in constructions of identity—in the sense Stuart Hall means when he writes that “identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past” (“Cultural Identity” 394). Moreover, as Jameson notes, a certain “kind of past” has been “a necessary component for groups of people in the projection of their praxis and the energizing of their collective project” (“Magic Realism” 310).
4
I refer to Lukacs's notion of the historical novel's task: to produce a prehistory of the present(337). Notably, the rise of black American women to historiographic authority follows the post–civil rights and women's movement “booms” in black and women's literatures and leads the surge in new feminist “historical” texts across the spectrum of ethnic and postcolonial women's literatures.
5
On matrifocal women's fiction see Hirsch; Washington, “I Sign”; see also Mickey Pearlman's Mother Puzzles: Daughters and Mothers in Contemporary American Literature and Suzanna Walters's Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture.

Recent mother-daughter anthologies include Patricia Bell-Scott's Double Stitch: Black Women Write about Mothers and Daughters, Faye Moskowitz's Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters, and Elizabeth Brown-Guillory's Women of Color: Mother-Daughter Relationships in Twentieth-Century Literature.

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