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Black Heart

The Moral Life of Recent African American Letters


Phillip M. Richards

«The essays gathered here offer an insightful and unsparing analysis of the shortcomings and possibilities of contemporary African American literary and cultural criticism. Richards wields his broad and deep understanding of the American and African American literary history with admirable dexterity as he assesses the critical voices that have shaped African American literary and cultural study over the last two decades. Rarely does a critic explore the links between literary criticism and social class with the care and rigor that Richards displays here. Richards’s readings come from a distinct point of view but are never predictable and pretentious. One learns from Richards even on those occasions when one disagrees with him.» (Kenneth Warren, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor, The University of Chicago)