Domestic allegories of political desire : the Black heroine's text at the turn of the century / Claudia Tate.
- New York : Oxford University Press, 1992. , ©1992
x, 302 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
- Domestic fiction, American -- History and criticism.
American fiction -- African American authors -- History and criticism.
American fiction -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
Politics and literature -- United States.
African American women -- Intellectual life.
African American women in literature.
Heroines in literature.
Marriage in literature.
Desire in literature.
- Place of Publication:
- United States New York (State) New York (City).
- Why did African-American women novelists use idealized stories of bourgeois courtship and marriage to mount arguments on social reform during the last decade of the nineteenth century - a time when resurgent racism conditioned the lives of all black Americans? Such stories now seem like apolitical fantasies to contemporary readers. In this study, Tate explores this apparent paradox through an examination of the novels of Pauline Hopkins, Emma Kelley, Amelia Johnson, Katherine Tillman, and Frances Harper. Domestic Allegories of Political Desire is more than a literary study; it is also a social and intellectual history - a cultural critique of a period that historian Rayford W. Logan called "the Dark Ages of recent American history." Against a rich contextual framework, extending from abolitionist protest to the Black Aesthetic, Tate argues that the idealized marriage plot in these novels does not merely depict the heroine's happiness and economic prosperity. Instead, that plot encodes a resonant cultural narrative - a domestic allegory - about the political ambitions of an emancipated people. Once this domestic allegory of political desire is unmasked, it can be seen as a significant discourse of the post-Reconstruction era for representing African Americans' collective dreams about freedom and for reconstructing those contested dreams into fictive consummations of civil liberty. Domestic Allegories of Political Desire is cultural criticism, cutting across the traditional disciplines of history, sociology, literature, and ethnology. By examining lost works, this book recovers the domestic heroine as a signifier of citizenship for African Americans, and domesticity as a discourse of black political agency. With this important work, Tate joins the ranks of leading scholars of African-American culture. It is essential reading for those interested in the intersection of race, gender, and class in American, African-American, and women's studies.
- Maternal discourses as antebellum social protest
Legacies of Intersecting cultural conventions
To vote and to marry: locating a gendered and historicized model of interpretation
Allegories of gender and class as discourses of political desire
Sexual discourses of political reform of the post-reconstruction era
Revising the patriarchal texts of husband and wife in real and fictive words
From domestic happiness to racial despair
Domestic tragedy as racial protest.
- "Copyright ©1992 by Oxford University Press, Inc."--verso of title page.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 281-290) and index.
- Local notes:
- Kislak Center Banks Collection copy presented to the Penn Libraries in 2018 by Joanna Banks.
Banks Collection copy retains dustjacket.
- Penn Provenance:
- Banks, Joanna (donor) (Banks Collection copy)
- Penn Chronology:
- Oxford University Press (U.S.), publisher.
Joanna Banks Collection of African American Books (University of Pennsylvania)
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