Academic journal article American Studies

PARIS, CAPITAL OF THE BLACK ATLANTIC: Literature, Modernity and Diaspora

Academic journal article American Studies

PARIS, CAPITAL OF THE BLACK ATLANTIC: Literature, Modernity and Diaspora

Article excerpt

PARIS, CAPITAL OF THE BLACK ATLANTIC: Literature, Modernity and Diaspora. Edited by Jeremy Braddock and Jonathan P. Eburne. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2013.

Paris as subject and location of Black literary interest is the focus of Jeremy Braddock and Jonathan P. Eburne, editors of Paris, Capital of the Black Atlantic: Literature, Modernity and Diaspora, which expands upon a special issue of the journal Modern Fiction Studies published in December, 2005, with new essays and a revised introduction. Although there are only four new essays out of fourteen in this collec- tion, the volume confirms the continued significance of the legendary city as a center of diasporic convergence. The conceptual range and scope of transnational Black cultures yields a Black Paris that embraces both a historical city and an imagined one. The diversity of Black artists, writers, and intellectuals who found their city of convergence in Paris required diverse fields of scholarly specialization as this volume demonstrates. Afro-modernism, Afro-Diasporic studies, and Black Atlantic studies have been mobilized to examine the participation of writers, artists, and thinkers in the political and moral life of Black Paris. Ironically, Paris as a city of convergence shows all the more clearly the divergences in these diasporic encounters which make Paris a center of conflict and debate.

After David Harvey's Paris, Capital of Modernity (2003) and Patrice Higonnet's Paris: Capital of the World (2005), Paris, Capital of the Black Atlantic confirms "the fate of place" (350), testifying to the transformative effect of the city on Black authors of American, Caribbean, African, and European descent. The essays, arranged chronologically according to their subject matter and grouped into three sections, span the early decades of twentieth-century interwar and postwar Paris to the contem- porary city as viewed by a living writer, the Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou. …

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