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Making Middlebrow Culture, Making Middlebrow Literary Texts Matter : The Crisis , Easter 1912

Making Middlebrow Culture, Making Middlebrow Literary Texts Matter : The Crisis , Easter 1912 <jats:p> The Crisis was established in 1910 by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at the behest and under the editorship of W. E. B. DuBois. Its earliest years of publication are distinctive, as Anne E. Carroll has argued, for their dual focus on ‘protest[ing] against racial injustice and…affirm[ing] the achievement of African Americans’. Both building on and taking issue with recent research on the Crisis by Carroll and Russ Castronovo, this essay offers a materially based, object-oriented account of how the Crisis engaged an aspirational black middle class readership—and sought to make middlebrow literary texts matter—in its Easter 1912 issue. Instead of employing the methodologies of author-based literary study, I read Charles E. Chesnutt's ‘The Doll’ and Jesse Fauset's ‘Rondeau’ in tandem with and in relation to the magazine's non-literary and commercial content. Doing so not only brings into high relief the Crisis's outreach to an aspirational black middle class. It also helps us recognize the magazine's interest in having its readers find beauty in both a barbershop and in literary forms that cannot—or rather, should not—be subsumed within expansive new definitions of modernism. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Making Middlebrow Culture, Making Middlebrow Literary Texts Matter : The Crisis , Easter 1912

Modernist Cultures , Volume 6 (1): 18 – May 1, 2011

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2011
Subject
Articles; Film, Media & Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2011.0003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> The Crisis was established in 1910 by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at the behest and under the editorship of W. E. B. DuBois. Its earliest years of publication are distinctive, as Anne E. Carroll has argued, for their dual focus on ‘protest[ing] against racial injustice and…affirm[ing] the achievement of African Americans’. Both building on and taking issue with recent research on the Crisis by Carroll and Russ Castronovo, this essay offers a materially based, object-oriented account of how the Crisis engaged an aspirational black middle class readership—and sought to make middlebrow literary texts matter—in its Easter 1912 issue. Instead of employing the methodologies of author-based literary study, I read Charles E. Chesnutt's ‘The Doll’ and Jesse Fauset's ‘Rondeau’ in tandem with and in relation to the magazine's non-literary and commercial content. Doing so not only brings into high relief the Crisis's outreach to an aspirational black middle class. It also helps us recognize the magazine's interest in having its readers find beauty in both a barbershop and in literary forms that cannot—or rather, should not—be subsumed within expansive new definitions of modernism. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: May 1, 2011

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