This paper deals with the Harlem Renaissance, but also with the present, in an attempt to explore how these two historical periods relate to each other and to the text of Edward Christopher Williams. It is thus centered on two related topics or lines of inquiry: the first is to introduce the book, When Washington Was In Vogue, which was originally published as a series of articles in the years 1925 and 26, and only published as a book in 2003. How does this “novel” differ from other, well-known Harlem Renaissance texts when it comes to the use of place, subject matter, and the kind of black life it represents? Second, how does it affect our understanding of the period? The paper suggests that When Washington Was In Vogue intervenes into the general understanding of Harlem Renaissance novels by presenting an example of a first-person epistolary novel which amount to an assertive affirmation of black subjectivity. The ‘I’ of Davy Carr’s fictional letters is a stable central consciousness with ample power to put his experiences into words. The confident and positive black voice we hear in this novel forms an example of how ongoing present research has an effect the description of the past: how the individual talent rewrites tradition. Davy’s perspective provides a vantage point that makes possible the assertion of a slightly different 1920s than we have been used to seeing in contemporary African-American fiction. The paper concludes by briefly considering the re-publication of Williams’s work in relation to the role of the literary critic and researcher—and of the literary marketplace.
|Publication status||Published - 2005|
|Event||Nordic Association of American Studies (NAAS), Växjö & Karlskrona Universities, May 26-29, 2005. - |
Duration: 1980-Jan-01 → …
|Conference||Nordic Association of American Studies (NAAS), Växjö & Karlskrona Universities, May 26-29, 2005.|
|Period||80-01-01 → …|
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Humanities and the Arts (6)