Mythic Black Fiction

The Transformation of History

  • Author(s): Campbell, Jane
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 1989-02-02
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $19.00 | Buy Now

Campbell examines black literature as it seeks to reverse and supplant the various dehumanizing myths promulgated by white American culture. Analyzing fourteen literary works written over more than a century, Campbell shows that this fiction permits black authors to act as revisionist historians, offering a transcendent view of the future through an exploration of the past.

In searching for rhetorical devices, according to Campbell, black writers often draw on elements of myth that by definition articulate a culture’s most profound perceptions and can be used in fiction to awaken readers’ deepest urges.

“In a substantial work of literary history, Jane Campbell undertakes to reassess 14 Afro-American historical novels, which ‘encapsulate’ the realities of various periods: slavery, post-Reconstruction, and the decades leading up to the eighties. . . . This book is worth reading by any student of Afro-American literary history.”
–Cheryl Clarke, The Black Scholar.

“It is an important study which will enable us to better understand the full range of Afro-American literature.”
–Thomas F. Gossett, Georgia Historical Quarterly.