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Conclusion

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Abstract

Having as their point of departure the idea that “the past,” as James Baldwin notes, “is all that makes the present coherent, and further, that the past will remain horrible as long as we refuse to assess it honestly,”1African American women writers embark upon representations of history that aim to connect past and present and individual and community. In this context, history emerges as the central vehicle of cultural reconstruction, of community renewal, and self-discovery.

Keywords

Oral Tradition Literary Tradition Woman Writer African American Culture Mother Figure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son (London: Michael Joseph, 1964), 14.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Margaret Walker interviewed by Phanuel Egejuru and Robert Elliot Fox, “An Interview with Margaret Walker,” Callaloo: A Journal of African American and African Arts and Letters 2, no. 2 (1979): 34–35.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Henry Louis Gates Jr., foreword to Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), xvi.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Harriet E. Wilson, preface to Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, In a Two Story House, North. Showing that Slavery’s Shadows Fall Even There (Random House, 1983), 3.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Toni Cade Bambara interviewed by Claudia Tate, ed., Black Women Writers at Work (New York: Continuum, 1983), 17–18.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Dorothy West, The Living Is Easy (New York: Feminist Press, 1982), 90–91.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Lalita Tademy, Cane River (London: Headline, 2001), v.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Margaret Walker, Jubilee (New York: Bantam Books, 1967), x.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo (London: Minerva, 1996), 28.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Barbara Christian, “‘Somebody Forgot to Tell Somebody Something’: African-American Women’s Historical Novels,” in Wild Women in the Whirlwind: Afra-American Culture and the Contemporary Literary Renaissance, ed. Joanne M. Braxton and Andrée Nicola McLaughlin (London: Serpent’s Tail, 1990), 328.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Toni Morrison, A Mercy (New York: Vintage Books, 2008), 8.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Gayl Jones, Liberating Voices: Oral Tradition in African American Literature (London: Harvard University Press, 1991), 179.Google Scholar

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© Ana Nunes 2011

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