Between the Lines: Literary Transnationalism and African American Poetics

By Monique-Adelle Callahan | Go to book overview

NOTES

Introduction

1. Terry Eagleton provides the following useful summary of Russian linguist Roman Jakobson’s assessment of the poetic use of language:

What he [Jakobson] contributed in particular to poetics, which he regarded as part of
the field of linguistics, was the idea that the “poetic” consisted above all in
language’s being placed in a certain kind of self-conscious relationship to
itself. The poetic functioning of language “promotes the palpability of signs,”
draws attention to their material qualities rather than simply using them as
counters in communication. In the “poetic,” the sign is dislocated from its
object: the usual relation between sign and referent is disturbed, which allows
the sign a certain independence as an object of value in itself. (1996, 85)

2. This historical figure is most commonly referred to as Zumbi in both Brazil and the United States. Some historical documents transcribe the name Zombi. In this book, I use “Zumbi” to refer broadly to the historical figure and “Zombi” to refer to Harper’s character in “Death of Zombi.”

3. Carpentier does seem to exoticize the “idea” of “el negro” as an importation of vibrance and culture onto a “New World” canvas. He writes:

la aportación del negro al mundo a donde fue llevado, muy a pesar suyo, no consiste
en lo que ha dado en llamarse erróneamente “negritud” (¿por qué no hablar, en
tal caso, de una “blanquitud”?), sino en algo mucho más trascendental: una
sensibilidad que vino a enriquecer la de los hombres con quienes se le había
obligado a convivir, comunicándole una nueva energía para manifestarse en
dimensión mayor, tanto en lo artístico como en lo histórico, puesto que el

-149-

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