"Trudier Harris seldom fails to astonish us critically with the range and ambitiousness of her projects. Her scholarly dedication has influenced generations. It is difficult to imagine how different our intellectual landscape would be without her."
—Houston A. Baker, Jr., author of Turning South Again: Re-Thinking Modernism/Re-Reading Booker T.
"Trudier Harris-Lopez has one of the most original and synthentic minds in a great long while. The range of her knowledge is astounding, the candor of her conclusions are astonishing, and the sum total is just wonderful."
"Highlight[s] a scholarly career of originality and complex vision . . . [A] bold, comprehensive and ingenious volume that proves good theory is not always ‘high theory.’ . . . [A] mark of excellence that deserves the accolades it is sure to receive."
—Southern Literary Journal
"Trudier Harris-Lopez is one of the leading literary critics of our generation."
—Henry Louis Gates Jr., author of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man
"Throughout South of Tradition, the most compelling readings are those that attempt to open the door to ‘real’ black lives outside theory. . . . South of Tradition will provoke, if not please, all. But that is what makes it such an admirable contribution."
"Harris-Lopez's readers are in the hands of one of the most experienced critics of African-American literature in the academy today, and her confident, authoritative style of writing conveys this fact."
"[T]he author does something rare among scholars: she revisits her past writing and, where appropriate, updates some of her views. . . . The critiques in this collection are jarring and enlightening because of their accuracy. Harris-Lopez's approach to studying various African American literary forms is unique because she recognizes that growth is common to readers as well as writers."
South of Tradition focuses not only on well-known writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright, but also on up-and-coming writers such as Randall Kenan and less-known writers such as Brent Wade and Henry Dumas. Harris-Lopez addresses themes of sexual and racial identity, reconceptualizations of and transcendence of Christianity, analyses of African American folk and cultural traditions, and issues of racial justice. Many of her subjects argue that geography shapes identity, whether that geography is the European territory many blacks escaped to from the oppressive South, or the South itself, where generations of African Americans have had to come to grips with their relationship to the land and its history. For Harris-Lopez, "south of tradition" refers both to geography and to readings of texts that are not in keeping with expected responses to the works. She explains her point of departure for the essays as "a slant, an angle, or a jolt below the line of what would be considered the norm for usual responses to African American literature."
The scope of Harris-Lopez's work is tremendous. From her coverage of noncanonical writers to her analysis of humor in the best-selling The Color Purple, she provides essential material that should inform all future readings of African American literature.
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List price: $44.95
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