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“Negras Aguas”: The Poe Tradition and the Limits of American Africanism

“Negras Aguas”: The Poe Tradition and the Limits of American Africanism This article tests Americanist claims about Edgar Allan Poe's racism against Latin American, Caribbean, and contemporary African-American literature written under his influence. I start with a discussion of Toni Morrison's agenda-setting reading of Poe in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992). I show how Poe's only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838), resists Morrison's interpretation by playing ironically on white anxiety and Black creativity. I then follow this mode along an international itinerary of authors working in styles and modes pioneered by Poe: Comte de Lautréamont, Ruben Darío, the Negritude poets, and the contemporary African American novelist Mat Johnson. I submit that these later writers exploit Poe's formal strategies for more explicitly anti-racist and anti-colonial aesthetics. Edgar Allan Poe Comte de Lautréamont race slavery symbolism http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

“Negras Aguas”: The Poe Tradition and the Limits of American Africanism

Comparative Literature , Volume 67 (4) – Dec 1, 2015

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-3327542
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article tests Americanist claims about Edgar Allan Poe's racism against Latin American, Caribbean, and contemporary African-American literature written under his influence. I start with a discussion of Toni Morrison's agenda-setting reading of Poe in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992). I show how Poe's only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838), resists Morrison's interpretation by playing ironically on white anxiety and Black creativity. I then follow this mode along an international itinerary of authors working in styles and modes pioneered by Poe: Comte de Lautréamont, Ruben Darío, the Negritude poets, and the contemporary African American novelist Mat Johnson. I submit that these later writers exploit Poe's formal strategies for more explicitly anti-racist and anti-colonial aesthetics. Edgar Allan Poe Comte de Lautréamont race slavery symbolism

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2015

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