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“This Morning I Read as Angels Read”: Self-Creation, Aesthetics, and the Crisis of Black Politics in W.E.B. Du Bois’s Dark Princess

  • Ulf Schulenberg
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, Schulenberg discusses W.E.B. Du Bois’s second novel Dark Princess: A Romance (1928). Throughout his long career, one of the primary concerns of this African American scholar, activist, and artist was to politicize the aesthetic or to advocate the aesthetic as political practice. However, it is argued that Dark Princess is governed by a too rigid private-public separation, and that the latter prevents the author from realizing the idea of an innovative and progressive leftist politics in his novel. This also means that the novel does not fully explore the development from finding to making and that its author employs a rather traditional understanding of aesthetic form. In his novel, Du Bois introduces the idea of a leftist cosmopolitanism as an effective means of confronting the crisis of black leftist politics, but his text does not answer a question that is of the utmost importance: Where is the poets’ place in this leftist cosmopolitanism, transnational radical politics, or Afro-Asian international?

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulf Schulenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BremenBremenGermany

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