The Changing Same"

The Changing Same"

Black Women's Literature, Criticism, and Theory
Deborah E. McDowell
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/22/1995
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-20926-9
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A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1996

The Changing Same" examines defining moments in African American women's fiction and its reception: the "Women's Era" of the 1890s, the Harlem Renaissance, and the "New Black Renaissance" of the 1970s and 1980s. Deborah McDowell maps this history in readings of Emma Dunham Kelley, Frances E. W. Harper, Jessie Fauset, Nella Larsen, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Sherley Anne Williams. She examines representations of slavery, sexuality, and homoeroticism; the reception of African American women's fiction in the 1980s; and African American feminist writing in the "Age of Theory."

Author Bio

DEBORAH E. MCDOWELL, Professor of English at the University of Virginia, is co-editor (with Arnold Rampersad) of Slavery and the Literary Imagination and author of numerous articles and essays on African American texts.


““McDowell’s deconstruction of black female literary tradition is accessible, insightful and most of all, extraordinarily interesting.” —Public Relations Review “Any scholar, beginning or seasoned, looking for an introduction to black feminist criticism and theory would be well advised to pick up McDowell’s collection of essays. . . . Written with wit and style, this book is the mature work of an impressive scholar.” —Choice “Both historically informed and theoretically ambitious, The Changing Same should take its place among the ‘must read’ books on African-American women’s fiction.” —Virginia Quarterly Review “. . . The Changing Same provides an exemplary response for anyone committed to a vital, discriminating vision of black women’s expression in ’Merica.” —Kimberly W. Benston, Haverford College Examines defining moments in African American women’s fiction and its reception: the “Women’s Era” of the 1890s, the Harlem Renaissance, and the “New Black Renaissance” of the 1970s and 1980s.”

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Table of Contents

Preface—Speaking To You about the "Changing the Same"
Part I Thinking About Methods
Chapter One — New Directions for Black Feminist Criticism

Part II Ideas of Tradition
Chapter Two — Race of Saints: Four Girls at Cottage City
Chapter Three — "The Changing Same": Generational Connections and Black Women Novelists—Iola Leroy and The Color Purple

Part III Undercover: Passing and Other Disguises
Chapter Four—On FAce: Textual Identities in Jessie Fauset’s Plum Bun or Marking and Marketing in the Harlem Renaissance
Chapter Five: "The nameless... Shameful Impulse": Sexuality in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Passing

Part IV The Reader in the Text
Chapter Six—Boundaries: Or Distant Relations and Close Kine — Sula
Chapter Seven: Reading Family Matters

Part V Hesitating Between Tenses or Allegories of History
Chapter Eight—Witnessing Slavery AFter Freedom—Dessa Rose
Chapter Nine—Transferences: Black Feminist Discourse: The "Practice" of "Theory"