Between the Lines: Literary Transnationalism and African American Poetics

By Monique-Adelle Callahan | Go to book overview

Introduction

Esta idea de colonización parece ya perfectamente
afianzada, instalada. Pero la historia tiene sus sorpresas, y
no se contaba con un elemento imprevisto: el de los
esclavos africanos. Traído del continente africano, el negro
que llega a América aherrojado, encadenado, amontonado
en las calas de buques insalubres, que es vendido como
mercancía, que es sometido a la condición más baja a la
que puede ser sometido un ser humano, resulta que va a ser
precisamente el germen de la idea de independencia
.
[This idea of colonization seems to be perfectly secure,
established. But history has its surprises, and didn’t count
on an unexpected element: that of African slaves. Brought
from the African continent, the Negro who arrives in
America chained, shackled, piled up in the hold of
unsanitary ships, who is sold like merchandise, who is
subjected to the lowest condition that to which a human
being can be subjected, ultimately comes to be the very root
of the idea of independence.]

—Alejo Carpentier (quoted in Pérez Cano 2004, 92–93)

The creative imagination has been colonized …. We are
taught to believe, for example, that there is an American
literature, that there is an American cinema, that there is an
American reality. There is no American literature; there are
American literatures
.

—Toni Cade Bambara (1996, 140)


What Is Between the Lines (?):
A Comparative Literature by Nature

Poet Wallace Stevens called a poem the “cry of its occasion.” For poets Frances Harper, Cristina Ayala, and Auta de Souza, that cry was that of peoples and nations looking for a way to escape from the inscriptions written on them by language and

-3-

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