The Tragic Black Buck: Racial Masquerading in the American Literary Imagination

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Peter Lang, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 198 pages
The Tragic Black Buck examines the phenomenon, often paradoxical, of black males passing for white in American literature. Focusing on the first third of the twentieth century, this book argues that black individuals successfully assuming a white identity represent a paradox, in that passing for white exemplifies a challenge to the hegemonic philosophy of biological white supremacy, while denying blackness. Issues of race, gender, skin color, class, and law are examined in the literature of passing, involving the historical, theoretical, and literary tropes of miscegenation, mimicry, and masquerade. The narratives examined in The Tragic Black Buck are Charles Waddell Chesnutt's The House Behind the Cedars, James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and William Faulkner's Light in August.
 

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Contents

Chapter
4
Chapter 2
18
The Great Gatsby
75
The Virulent Nexus of Race and Color
104
Conclusion
129
Chapter 3
151
Bibliography
165
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About the author (2004)

The Author: Carlyle Van Thompson is Associate Professor of African American and American Literature at Medgar Evers College, the City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. In addition to numerous articles in professional journals and book reviews, he wrote a provocative article on Abner Louima and white male police brutality in New York City.

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