Argues that African American literature must take into account the rich diversity of African American life and culture.
In this wide-ranging analysis, W. Lawrence Hogue argues that African American life and history is more diverse than even African American critics generally acknowledge. Focusing on literary representations of African American males in particular, Hogue examines works by James Weldon Johnson, William Melvin Kelley, Charles Wright, Nathan Heard, Clarence Major, James Earl Hardy, and Don Belton to see how they portray middle-class, Christian, subaltern, voodoo, urban, jazz/blues, postmodern, and gay African American cultures. Hogue shows that this polycentric perspective can move beyond a "racial uplift" approach to African American literature and history and help paint a clearer picture of the rich diversity of African American life and culture.
W. Lawrence Hogue is Professor of English at the University of Houston. He is the author of Race, Modernity, Postmodernity: A Look at the History and the Literatures of People of Color Since the 1960s, also published by SUNY Press, and Discourse and the Other: The Production of the Afro-American Text.