African American Review

Founded in 1967, the African American Review is a quarterly journal published by St. Louis University, located in St. Louis, Mo. Its subject matter is literature and black publications. Its managing editor is Aileen Keenan.

Articles from Vol. 40, No. 2, Summer

A Black Gay Man's Reflections on Torture and Dictatorship
Not long ago, a black gay man asked me why I write about topics "different" than those that--according to him--other contemporary black gay male writers typically address. Provoked, in turn I asked him exactly what he meant. He responded that it seemed...
A Love Supreme: Jazzthetic Strategies in Toni Morrison's Beloved
Black Americans were sustained and healed and nurtured by the translation of their experience into art, above all in the music. That was functional.... My parallel is always the music, because all of the strategies of the art are there.... The power...
Baseball as History and Myth in August Wilson's: Fences
The game of baseball has long been regarded as a metaphor for the American dream--an expression of hope, democratic values, and the drive for individual success. According to John Thorn, baseball has become "the great repository of national ideals,...
Numerological Tradition in the Works of Jupiter Hammon
Introduction Jupiter Hammon, notable as the first African American poet ever published, has also had the unhappy distinction of being almost universally misunderstood. Critical prejudices and predilections, anachronistic comparisons with later writers,...
Que(e)rying the Prison-House of Black Male Desire: Homosociality in Ernest Gaines's "Three Men"
Interviewer: [Critics] say Miss Jane Pittman is the greatest Black female character since Dilsey. Gaines: (Laughter): Oh, yeah, Dilsey. Interviewer:. Dilsey is nowhere compared to Miss Jane. You are much better at your Black people than Faulkner....
Revising Critical Judgments of the Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
The indeterminate status accorded James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) is, to a great extent, attributable to its standing as the first "fictional" text written by an African American that deliberately masks its genre....
Simon Wasn't There: The Sambo Strategy, Consumable Theater, and Rebecca Gilman's Spinning into Butter
When Spinning into Butter debuted at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 1999, Rebecca Gilman was transformed, in the words of Chris Jones, from a struggling writer into "one of America's most talked-about and sought-after playwrights" (26). The positive...
The Art of Tom Dent: Notes on Early Evidence
TOM DENT COLLECTIVE During the 2001 MLA Annual Convention (New Orleans) special session "In the Wind of History," which I organized, several writers, scholars, and friends had the opportunity to discuss the life and work of Tom Dent--poet, playwright,...
The Conspiracy of Masculinity in Ishmael Reed
Those who believe that major world events result from planning are laughed at for believing in the "conspiracy theory of history." Of course, no one in this modern day and age really believes in the conspiracy theory of history--except those who have...
The Need to Speak: Tom Dent and the Shaping of a Black Aesthetic
we speak to disturb you who think poetry, music should only be beautiful. --Tom Dent ... we are as radical as society demands the truth to be.--"Foreword." Umbra 1 (1963) Greenwich Village has always been an irresistible lure to the talented...
"The Strangest Freaks of Despotism": Queer Sexuality in Antebellum African American Slave Narratives
In a well-known passage from Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God the elderly ex-slave Nanny explains to Janie, her adolescent and newly sexually awakened granddaughter, the plight of African American women and families under slavery....
The Urban Gothic Vision of Colson Whitehead's the Intuitionist (1999)
But we do have in the Negro the embodiment of a past tragic enough to appease the spiritual hunger of even a James; and we have in the oppression of the Negro a shadow athwart our national life dense and heavy enough to satisfy even the gloomy broodings...
Tom Dent's Role in the Organizational Mentoring of African American Southern Writers: A Memoir
Thomas Covington Dent left a legacy larger than his published works. He left a legacy of caring, nurturing, passionate involvement in the grooming of writers and the organizations that support them. His work with the Umbra Workshop in the New York...