Critical Fictions

Philomena Mariani, Editor
Philomena Mariani, Editor Bay Press (WA) $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-941920-24-7
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-1-56584-497-1
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Based on presentations and panel discussions from a three-day conference held in New York City in 1991, this book offers spirited, if sometimes jargon-heavy, debate among African American artists and cultural critics about issues from essentialism to sexuality. Cornel West deftly deconstructs liberal and conservative analyses of the condition of blacks in America, then proposes that a ``love ethic''--as in Toni Morrison's novel Beloved --could lead downtrodden blacks to resist nihilism. Addressing black intellectuals who critique black popular culture, bell hooks warns that criticism must not merely ``trash a work.'' Marlon T. Riggs, in an aside-filled presentation that is more performance than lecture, questions the absence from the conference of rappers and others from popular culture. Hazel V. Carby trenchantly concludes that the presence of black writers in the multicultural curriculum ``seems to act as a substitute for the political activity of desegregation.'' Wallace is the author of Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman ; Dent is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Feb.)
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