Writing the Subject: Bildung and the African American Text

By Gunilla Theander Kester | Go to book overview
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Invisible Man has been called a Bildungsroman by, for example, Kenneth Burke. See also Earl H. Rovit, "Ralph Ellison and the Comic Tradition," Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature 1 ( 1960): 34-42; Stewart Rodnon, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Invisible Man: Thematic and Structural Comparisons," Black American Literature Forum 4 ( 1970): 45-51, and Joseph Frank . See also Dietze12-15.
Ralph Ellison discusses the writers he studied--Eliot, Joyce, Dostoevsky, Stein, Hemingway, and Malraux--in "The Art of Fiction: An Interview" in Shadow and Act ( New York: Vintage, 1972) 167-183.
See, for example, Alan Nadel, Invisible Criticism: Ralph Ellison and the American Canon ( Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1988), Robert N. List , Dedalus in Harlem: The Joyce-Ellison Connection ( Washington, DC: UP of America, Inc., 1982), and Rudolf F. Dietze.
Many African American critics argue that modernism took a different shape in African American literature. See, for example, Michael G. Cooke Afro-American Literature in the Twentieth Century: The Achievement of Intimacy ( New Haven: Yale UP, 1984). He writes that "While modernism in white literature took the form of hothouse virtuosity and detachment (if not revulsion) from the human, in Afro-American literature it took the form of a centering upon the possibilities of the human and an emergent sense of intimacy predicated on the human" (5). As critics go on debating the nature of postmodernism, they will surely formulate similar differences. See, for example, Robert Elliot Fox Conscientious Sorcerers: The Black Postmodernist Fiction of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, and Samuel R. Delany ( New York: Greenwood P, 1987) and James W. Coleman, Blackness and Modernism: The Literary Career of John Edgar Wideman ( Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1989).


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Writing the Subject: Bildung and the African American Text


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