Postmodern Narrative Choices and the African American Novel
Jean-François Lyotard’s concept of local narratives and grand narratives helps show how African American novels, using postmodern strategies, function as small-scale narratives. Consequently, these narratives, set up in opposition to hegemonic metanarratives, offer readers an alternative mode of thinking to that offered by the larger, more widely diffused and self-distributing grand narratives. By providing realistic characters in ways that defy the typical grand narratives of race, as well as the expectations of storytelling itself, readers are stimulated into new realizations about previously accepted ideas, and become prepared to spread the now-realized truth about the inaccuracies of the racist grand narratives.
This book is a vital and thought-provoking addition to the ongoing conversation about storytelling and race, and will engage readers in classroom discussions dealing with race, postmodernism, or twentieth-century literature in a more general sense.
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Works by Ishmael Reed, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Colson Whitehead
Johnson, C. (1998). Dreamer. New York: Simon and Schuster.
_____. (1990). Middle Passage. New York: Plume.
_____. (1986). The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. New York: Penguin.
_____. (1999). “Whole Sight: Notes on New Black Fiction.” In R. P. Byrd (Ed.), I Call Myself An Artist: Writings by and About Charles Johnson. (pp. 85–90). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Morrison, T. (1987). Beloved. New York: Knopf.
_____. (1992). Jazz. New York: Knopf.
_____. (1998). Paradise. New York: Random House/Knopf.
_____. (1987). Song of Solomon. 1977. New York: Penguin.
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