Chapter

Living parchments, human documents: passing, racial identity and the literary marketplace

Sinéad Moynihan

in Passing into the Present

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780719082290
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702727 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719082290.003.0002
Living parchments, human documents: passing, racial identity and the literary marketplace

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This chapter focuses on contemporary fiction that deploys passing plots in order to consider the act of writing, in particular, examining texts which invoke passing at both a narrative and meta-narrative level in order to reflect upon the politics of the literary marketplace. It looks at two African American novels: Percival Everett's Erasure (2001) and Hannah Crafts's The Bondwoman's Narrative (2002). In Erasure, the attempt to resolve the seemingly incompatible demands of autobiography and sociology, and the facility with which ‘authenticity’ may be faked, are evident in the publicity surrounding the appearance of Juanita Mae Jenkins's book, We's Lives in Da Ghetto.

Keywords: literary marketplace; passing; novels; Percival Everett; Erasure; Hannah Crafts; Bondwoman's Narrative; autobiography; sociology; Juanita Mae Jenkins

Chapter.  12460 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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