Between the Lines

Monique-Adelle Callahan

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199743063
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895021 | DOI:

Series: Imagining the Americas

Between the Lines

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This book maintains that the poetic texts examined here constitute an active process of composing history; they are not simply historicized. They give name to the nation and compose of a historical narrative for its denizens. They are literary artifacts, bearing the vestiges of the past while provoking new interpretations. As visionaries and composers of New World history, Frances Harper, Cristina Ayala and Auta de Souza are a part of a larger process of conceptualizing freedom in the New World. Frances Harper’s trans-hemispheric poetic gestures delimit the scope of this project. By exemplifying the kind of readings that can evolve from following one poet’s trans-hemispheric allusions and articulate the fundamentally transnational aspect of African American literature in the United States, and inspire more re-evaluations of trans-hemispheric literary currents across national boundaries in afrodescendente literatures. The spectre of race and its particular performances of gender identities among afrodescendente peoples in the New World, informs these poetics but does not conform them to a monolithic body of national literature. Afrodescendente poetry in the Americas highlights the power of words to imagine new histories and new forms of identity. In their interplay, the poems tell us certain truths about how the concept of freedom can evolve. They say: “Freedom” cannot be understood as a byproduct of slavery’s abolition. They say: Freedom is a poetic process. They say: Freedom cannot just be legislated, it has to be written.

Keywords: transnationalism; trans-hemispheric; slavery; freedom; Auta de Souza; Frances Ellen Watkins Harper; Cristina Ayala; poetry; afrodescendente; African American

Book.  208 pages. 

Subjects: Literature

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Between the Lines


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