Chapter

Race/Erasure: Douglass to Roth

Michael T. Gilmore

in Surface and Depth

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157765
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199787784 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157765.003.0008
Race/Erasure: Douglass to Roth

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This chapter focuses on the American dilemma of race, exploring the rise of a literary countertradition that privileges silence and dissimulation over candor and accessibility. Examples are Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. It is shown how racial others become associated with illegibility in these texts, the corollary to a culture that relegates Black people to the margins.

Keywords: race; illegibility; Douglass; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; Twain; Pudd’nhead Wilson; Ellison; Invisible Man; Philip Roth; The Human Stain

Chapter.  12248 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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