African American Literature (The Oxford Companion)
Here indeed is the pantheon of African American writers--Phillis Wheatley and Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois, Gwendolyn Brooks and Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman and August Wilson, Jamaica Kincaid and Gloria Naylor, Stanley Crouch and Cornel West, and hundreds more. Moreover, the Companion includes entries on 150 major works of African American literature (including synopses of novels), from Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Richard Wright's Native Son, to Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun; on literary characters, ranging from Bigger Thomas, to Coffin Ed Johnson, Kunta Kinte, Sula Peace; on character types, such as Aunt Jemima, Brer Rabbit, John Henry, Stackolee, and the trickster; and on such icons of black culture as Muhammad Ali, John Coltrane, Marcus Garvey, Jackie Robinson, John Brown, and Harriet Tubman. Here, too, are general articles on the traditional literary genres, such as poetry, fiction, and drama; on genres of special import in African American letters, such as autobiography, slave narratives, Sunday School literature, and oratory; and on a wide spectrum of related topics, including journalism, the black periodical press, major libraries and research centers, religion, literary societies, women's clubs, and various publishing enterprises.
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