Best Selling Books by Henry Louis Gates

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Figures in Black : Words, Signs, and the "Racial" Self

Figures in Black : Words, Signs, and the "Racial" Self
"The originality, brilliance, and scope of the work is remarkable.... Gates will instruct, delight, and stimulate a broad range of readers, both those who are already well versed in Afro-American literature, and those who, after reading this book, will eagerly begin to be."--Barbara E. Johnson, Harvard University. "A critical enterprise of the first importance.... Gates promises to lead and to show the way in boldness of conception, in vigor of execution, and in vitality and pertinence of expression."--James Olney, Louisiana State University. Recently awarded Honorable Mention from the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize Committee of the American Studies Association, Figures in Black takes a provocative new look at how we analyze and define black literature. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., attacks the notion that the dominant mode of Afro-American literature is, or should be, a kind of social realism, evaluated primarily as a reflection of the "Black Experience." Instead, Gates insists that critics turn to the language of the text and bring to their work the close, methodical analysis of language made possible by modern literary theory. But his goal in this volume is not merely to "apply" contemporary theory to black texts. Indeed, as he ranges from 18th-century poet Phillis Wheatley to modern writers Ishmael Reed and Alice Walker, he attempts to redefine literary criticism itself, moving it away from a Eurocentric notion of a hierarchical canon--mostly white, Western, and male--to foster a truly comparative and pluralisic notion of literature. In doing so, he provides critics with a powerful tool for the analysis of black art and, more important, reveals for all readers the brilliance and depth of the Afro-American tradition.

Loose Canons

release date: Jan 01, 1993
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Loose Canons
Multiculturalism has been the subject of cover stories in Time and Newsweek and other newspapers and magazines around America. A leading literary and cultural critic, Gates says that the society we have made simply won't survive without the values of tolerance, and cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding.

The African-American Century

release date: Feb 05, 2002
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The African-American Century
Profiles one hundred influential African Americans who helped shape the history of the twentieth century, including revered figures in the fields of music, literature, sports, science, politics, and the civil rights movement.

100 Amazing Facts about the Negro

release date: Jan 01, 2017
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100 Amazing Facts about the Negro
"In 1934, 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof: A Short Cut to the World History of the Negro was published by Joel A. Rogers, a largely self-educated black journalist and historian. Now ... Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Rogers's work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African American history and gossip in question and answer format"--Provided by publisher.

The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin

release date: Jan 01, 2007
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The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin
An interpretation of the American classic refutes statements about the work's dehumanizing qualities as cited by James Baldwin in 1955, explaining how it served to raise period awareness about slavery and abolitionism and continues to provide insight into modern race relations and other social issues. 30,000 first printing.

The New Negro

release date: Oct 28, 2007
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The New Negro
When African American intellectuals announced the birth of the "New Negro" around the turn of the twentieth century, they were attempting through a bold act of renaming to change the way blacks were depicted and perceived in America. By challenging stereotypes of the Old Negro, and declaring that the New Negro was capable of high achievement, black writers tried to revolutionize how whites viewed blacks--and how blacks viewed themselves. Nothing less than a strategy to re-create the public face of "the race," the New Negro became a dominant figure of racial uplift between Reconstruction and World War II, as well as a central idea of the Harlem, or New Negro, Renaissance. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Gene Andrew Jarrett, The New Negro collects more than one hundred canonical and lesser-known essays published between 1892 and 1938 that examine the issues of race and representation in African American culture. These readings--by writers including W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Alain Locke, Carl Van Vechten, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Wright--discuss the trope of the New Negro, and the milieu in which this figure existed, from almost every conceivable angle. Political essays are joined by essays on African American fiction, poetry, drama, music, painting, and sculpture. More than fascinating historical documents, these essays remain essential to the way African American identity and history are still understood today.

Stony the Road

release date: Apr 07, 2020
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Stony the Road
The abolition of slavery after the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked 'a new birth of freedom' in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African-Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a 'New Negro' to force the nation to recognise their humanity and unique contributions to the United States.

The Signifying Monkey

release date: Nov 01, 2013
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The Signifying Monkey
"First issued as an Oxford University Press paperback, 1989"--Title page verso.

America Behind the Color Line

America Behind the Color Line
Examines four different elements of the African American experience as well as the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, in a collection of essays based on interviews with Colin Powell, Morgan Freeman, Vernon Jordan, and other notables.

The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism

release date: Aug 11, 1988
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The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s original, groundbreaking study explores the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, and particularly the Yoruba trickster figure of Esu-Elegbara and the Signifying Monkey whose myths help articulate the black tradition's theory of its literature, Gates uncovers a unique system for interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World. His critical approach relies heavily on the Signifying Monkey--perhaps the most popular figure in African-American folklore--and signification and Signifyin(g). Exploring signification in black American life and literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the "Talking Book," a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters. Gates uses this critical framework to examine several major works of African-American literature--including Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo--revealing how these works signify on the black tradition and on each other. The second volume in an enterprising trilogy on African-American literature, The Signifying Monkey--which expands the arguments of Figures in Black--makes an important contribution to literary theory, African-American literature, folklore, and literary history.
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