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“Yet you can quote Shakespeare, at the Drop of a Pin”: Shakespearean Riffs in Leon Forrest’s Divine Days

  • Peter Erickson

Abstract

Shakespeare’s presence is felt from the very beginning in Leon Forrest’s first novel, whose narrator concludes the opening paragraph with the announcement that his father “steeled me with Frederick Douglass and Shakespeare.” The Shakespearean strand continues to the very end, where in the final pages of his last book, Meteor in the Madhouse, completed as he was dying of cancer, Forrest turns once again to the model of Hamlet: “But then I was drowning and gasping for breath now out of the man from Hamlet’s last dying plateaus of righteous reaching-grieving riffs.”

Keywords

Black Folk Final Page Black Artist Educational Access Performance Rise 
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Notes

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    Stanley Crouch, The All-American Skin Game, or, The Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990–1994 (New York: Pantheon, 1995), 24.Google Scholar
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    W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Terri Hume Oliver (New York: Norton, 1999), 74.Google Scholar
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    James Baldwin, “Stranger in the Village,” in Notes of a Native Son (New York: Dial, 1955), 148.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    James Baldwin, No Name in the Street (New York: Dial, 1972), 47.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Keith Byerman, “Angularity: An Interview with Leon Forrest,” African American Review 33 (1999): 439–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Charles H. Rowell, “‘Beyond the Hard Work and Discipline’: An Interview with Leon Forrest,” Callaloo 20 (1997): 342–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 12.
    James A. Snead, “Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture,” in Black Literature and Literary Theory, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (New York: Methuen, 1984), 59–79Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Erickson 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Erickson

There are no affiliations available

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