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Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist
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Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  59 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
A cultural history of the work of nineteenth-century black women writers, this volume traces the emergence of the novel as a forum for political and cultural reconstruction, examining the ways in which dominant sexual ideologies influenced the literary conventions of women's fiction, and reassessing the uses of fiction in American culture. Carby revises the history of the ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 19th 1989 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published December 31st 1987)
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Matt Sautman
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Carby's recovery work on Afro-American women authors is phenomenal and traces the role that authors like Harriet Wilson, Frances Harper, and Pauline Hopkins played in shaping a distinctive tradition of American literature that has been historically underrepresented. My only critique of Carby's work is that it lacks any form of conclusion. This may be intentional as there is more to this tradition begin what Carby describes, but the abruptness of the ending makes me long to know what lies in the ...more
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Major Field Prep: 25/133
Carby’s project begins at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893, comparing the contributions of Frances Harper and other black women to the Congress of Representative Women (in contrast to Ida B. Wells’s activism at the same Exposition). Carby’s project has four major concerns: 1) black women confronting dominant domestic ideologies from which they are excluded; 2) question contemporary feminist historiography that claims an early black and white sisterhood; 3) recove
Cara Byrne
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a groundbreaking book for Black women's literature studies, giving voices to writers, teachers, and public orators whose names have been largely disregarded or lost. Hazel Carby cites the Stanton/Douglass debate in her 1987 critical work to pose these questions, challenge the idea that women’s movements have been historically inclusive of Black women, and confront an idealized notion of a universal sisterhood. She points to particular events in history, including this 1869 moment and the ...more
Melissa Mcdonald
Dec 06, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: scifi
Feminist revision of the traditions of American black women's writing, contrasting the image of the slave woman as victim in men's slave memoirs with a very different image that emerges in autobiographies such as Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Harriet Jacobs), From the Darkness Cometh Light (Lucy Delany), The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (Mary Prince).
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It's striking how fresh this text still seems, even as its basic argument has been foundational for numerous other quite similar studies, and its subjects--Frances Harper, Pauline Hopkins, Nella Larsen, Ida B. Wells, Anna Julia Cooper--have become canonical, at least within certain discourses.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! It gave a great overview of 19th century black feminist theory as well as late 19th century and early 20th century black women's literature!
May 29, 2013 added it
read "Slave and Mistress: Ideologies of Womanhood under Slavery" for Peculiar Intimacies course
I loved reading this book. There was a lot I already knew, which is to be expected, but i was excited about all the things I didn't know and discovered after reading this book. Fantastic!
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Hazel V. Carby is professor of African American Studies and of American Studies at Yale University. Before joining Yale University faculty, she taught English at Wesleyan University for seven years. She currently teaches courses on issues of race, gender and sexuality through the culture and literature of the Caribbean and its Diaspora; through transnational and postcolonial literature and theory; ...more
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“The objective of stereotypes is not to reflect or represent a reality but to function as a disguise, or mystification, of objective social relations.” 1 likes
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