Fingering the Jagged Grain
Tradition and Form in Recent Black Fiction

Keith E. Byerman


“[A] detailed, sensitive, and workmanlike study . . . one cannot leave Fingering the Jagged Grain without great appreciation of its author’s holistic reading of recent black fiction and his honest and enlightening exploration of its complexities and its power.”

Fingering the Jagged Grain sturdily and persuasively accomplishes an important critical task of re-reading the fiction of several leading Black American authors in light of the politico-cultural shifts of the past twenty years.”
American Literature

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In Fingering the Jagged Grain, Keith E. Byerman discusses how black writers such as Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, and Ernest Gaines have moved away from the ideological rigidity of the black arts movement that arose in the 1960s to create a more expressive, imaginative, and artistic fiction inspired by the example of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Combining a strong concern for technique and craftsmanship with elements of African American heritage including jazz, blues, spirituals, cautionary tales, and voodoo, these writers have created a vital fiction that celebrates the strength and resilience of the black American voice as it recounts the painful details and brutal episodes of black experience.
Page count: 322 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $30.95

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Keith E. Byerman is a professor of English at Indiana State University. He is the author or editor of six books including Remembering the Past in Contemporary African American Fiction and Seizing the Word: History, Art, and Self in the Work of W. E. B. Du Bois (Georgia).