Propaganda and Aesthetics: The Literary Politics of Afro-American Magazines in the Twentieth Century

Propaganda and Aesthetics: The Literary Politics of Afro-American Magazines in the Twentieth Century

Propaganda and Aesthetics: The Literary Politics of Afro-American Magazines in the Twentieth Century

Propaganda and Aesthetics: The Literary Politics of Afro-American Magazines in the Twentieth Century

Excerpt

The first edition of Propaganda and Aesthetics left off with the ebbing of the black arts movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Poets and essayists signaled the change in African-American magazines, which continued to serve as a unique platform for exploring the political and aesthetic dimensions of black literature. In "Why I Changed My Ideology," an essay published in the July 1975 issue of Black World, Amiri Baraka claimed it "fantasy to think that we can struggle for our own liberation and be completely oblivious to all the other struggling and oppressed people in the land." Nathan Hare mused over the cultural shift in "Division and Confusion: What Happened to the Black Movement," an essay carried in the January 1976 number of Black World.

A new generation of literary critics came to the fore in the late 1970s. Rejecting extraliterary approaches to black literature, they stressed the importance of textual analysis and the use of a plurality of literary theories. At the same time, both older and newer critics began to articulate a number of other methods for studying African- American literature. This introduction, which brings our discussion up to the present, traces the debate over the function and form of African-American literature in black literary magazines of the late 1970s and the 1980s.

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