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The Black Middle Ages

Race and the Construction of the Middle Ages


  • Contributes timely research to join the fields of medieval studies and African American studies

  • Assembles an archive of texts to expand understandings of black studies

  • Promotes a transhistorical and comparative theoretical framework


Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

About this book


The Black Middle Ages examines the influence of medieval studies on African-American thought. Matthew X. Vernon focuses on nineteenth century uses of medieval texts to structure racial identity, but also considers the flexibility of medieval narratives more broadly in the medieval period, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This book engages disparate discourses to reassess African-American positionalities in time and space. Utilizing a transhistorical framework, Vernon reflects on medieval studies as a discipline built upon a contended set of ideologies and acts of imaginative appropriation visible within source texts and their later mobilizations. 


middle ages literature race and the middle ages medievalisms nineteenth-century medievalisms African American identity Frederick Douglass Charles Chesnutt Ralph Ellison African American literature and the middle ages Mark Twain race in academia

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, DavisDavis, CAUSA

About the authors

Matthew X. Vernon is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Davis, USA.

Bibliographic information