Review by Choice Review
In his introduction Ernst explains that the purpose of his study is to examine the ways that six important African American authors whose careers began just before the Civil War sought to influence the understanding of history and progress. The texts discussed include William Wells Brown's Clotel, Harriet Wilson's Our Nig, Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Martin Delany's Blake, Frederick Douglass's Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, and Frances Harper's Iola Leroy. Ernst uses Paul Ricoeur's essay "Christianity and the Meaning of History," published in Ricoeur's History and Truth (English trans., 1965), as a basis for interpretation--which is certainly a new approach to these texts. Since this study demands that readers be familiar with the authors and works examined, the evolution and vocabulary of contemporary literary critical theory, the historical period that defines the texts, and the theory used for the basis of the interpretation, the audience for this book is limited to upper-division undergraduates and scholars with a special interest in these works.
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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