Playing in the Dark: Whiteness in the American Literary Imagination, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Playing in the Dark

Whiteness in the American Literary Imagination, 1st Edition

By Karina Jakubowicz, Adam Perchard

Macat Library

100 pages

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Description

Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination is a seminal piece of literary criticism, and a masterclass in the critical thinking skill of interpretation.

Interpretation plays a vital role in critical thinking: it focuses on interrogating accepted meanings and laying down clear definitions on which a strong argument can be built. Both history and literary history in the US have frequently revolved around understanding how Americans define themselves and each other, and Morrison’s work seeks to investigate, question, and redefine one of the central concepts in American history and American literary history: color.. Morrison turned to the classics of American literature to ask how authors had chosen to define the terms ‘black’ and ‘white.’ Instead of accepting traditional interpretations of these works, Morrison examined the way in which ‘whiteness’ defines itself through ‘blackness,’ and vice versa. Black bondage and the myths of black inferiority and savagery, she showed, allowed white America to indulge its own defining myths – viewing itself as free, civilized, and innocent.

A classic of subtle and incisive interpretation, Playing in the Dark shows just how crucial and how complex simple-looking definitions can be.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text Who was Toni Morrison? What does Playing in the Dark say? Why does Playing in the Dark matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas  Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact  Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today  Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited

About the Authors

Karina Jakubowicz is a doctoral student in English literature at University College, London.

Adam Perchard took his PhD in post-colonial literature at the University of York. He has been awarded research fellowships by Emory University, Atlanta, the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage, and the University of York, and currently teaches at Queen Mary, University of London. His current research focuses on disputing the discourses of cultural incommensurability emblematised and catalysed by the Rushdie Affair.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General