1st Edition

Literature and Culture of the Chicago Renaissance Postmodern and Postcolonial Development

Edited By Yoshinobu Hakutani Copyright 2020
    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages
    by Routledge

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    The Chicago Renaissance has long been considered a less important literary movement than the Harlem Renaissance. While the Harlem Renaissance began and flourished during the 1920s, but faded during the 1930s, the Chicago Renaissance originated between 1890 and 1910, gathered momentum in the 1930s, and paved the way for the postmodern and postcolonial developments in American Literature. To portray Chicago as a modern, spacious, cosmopolitan city, the writers of the Chicago Renaissance developed a new style of writing based on a distinct cultural aesthetic that reflected ethnically diverse sentiments and aspirations. Whereas the Harlem Renaissance was dominated by African American writers, the Chicago Renaissance originated from the interactions between African and European American writers. Much like modern jazz, writings in the movement became a hybrid, cross-cultural product of black and white Americans. The second period of the movement developed at two stages. In the first stage, the older generation of African American writers continued to deal with racial issues. In the second stage, African American writers sought solutions to racism by comparing American culture with other cultures. The younger generation of African American writers, such as Ishmael Reed, Charles Johnson, and Colson Whitehead, followed their predecessors and explored Confucianism, Buddhist Ontology, and Zen.

    This volume features essays by both veteran African Americanists and upcoming young critics. It is highlighted by essays from scholars located around the globe, such as Toru Kiuchi of Japan, Yupei Zhou of China, Mamoun Alzoubi of Jordan, and Babacar M'Baye of Senegal. It will be invaluable reading for students of Americanists at all levels.


    Part I: Interactions of African and European American Writers

    Chapter 1: "The Chicago Renaissance, Dreiser, and Wright’s Spatial Narrative" -- Yoshinobu Hakutani

    Chapter 2: "Chicago as Metaphor in the Writings of Dreiser and Wright: Tracing the Literary Lineage" -- Mary Hricko

    Chapter 3: "Dreiser’s ‘Nigger Jeff,’ Wright’s ‘Big Boy Leaves Home,’ and Lynching" -- Michael Sanders

    Chapter 4: "Chicago in Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, James Farrell’s Studs Lonigan, and Wright’s Native Son" -- Robert Butler

    Part II: African American Writers and Race Issues

    Chapter 5: "The Federal Writers’ Project in Chicago and Its Impact on the Second Chicago Renaissance" -- Mary Hricko

    Chapter 6: "Wright’s The Long Dream as Racial and Sexual Discourse" -- Yoshinobu Hakutani

    Chapter 7: "Frank Marshall Davis of Chicago and the Young Barack Obama of Hawaii" -- Toru Kiuchi

    Chapter 8: "Landscapes of the Imagination: Clarence Major, Leon Forest, and the Black Chicago Renaissance" -- Keith Byerman

    Chapter 9: "The Intuitionist and The Underground Railroad: Colson Whitehead’s Coping with Race Issues" -- Preston Park Cooper

    Part III: Transnational and Crosscultural Visions in African American Postmodernism

    Chapter 10: "The Western and Eastern Thoughts of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man" -- Yoshinobu Hakutani

    Chapter 11: "Wright and Transnationalism: A Reading of Pagan Spain" -- Mamoun F. Alzoubi

    Chapter 12: "Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo: A Reading through Confucianism" -- Yupei Zhou

    Chapter 13: "Ishmael Reed’s Japanese By Spring: A Satire on the Western View of Japanese Culture"-- Toru Kiuchi

    Chapter 14: "‘All Narratives Are Lies, Man, an Illusion’: Buddhism, Postmodernism, and Postcolonialism in Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage and Dreamer" -- Preston Park Cooper

    Chapter 15: "African Legacy and Chicago Politics in Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father" -- Babacar M’Baye



    Yoshinobu Hakutani teaches in the English department at Kent State University in Ohio, USA, where he is also a University Distinguished Scholar.

    "This collection of essays on the Chicago Renaissance has something for just about everybody; it extends the scope of the literary and cultural period from Theodore Dreiser and Richard Wright all the way to Colson Whitehead and Barack Obama." Jerome Loving, Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University.