Review by Choice Review
An impressive and thoroughly engaging contribution to 20th-century African American literary studies, and to cultural studies as well. Scruggs begins by tracking the origins of African American urban fiction. Rather than offer a comprehensive but superficial survey of black urban literature, he judiciously focuses on the role of the city both real and imagined in the representative texts of Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. The result is a meticulous, thoughtful, and scholarly work that not only widens our understanding of the canonical texts that he carefully analyzes but also delivers a compelling cultural narrative of the black urban experience in the US from the Great Migration to the 1980s. Though American urban fiction has received considerable critical attention, this volume by Scruggs is the first book-length study of the city, both visible and invisible, in representative African American novels. This sophisticated yet accessible book is recommended for all graduate, undergraduate, and large public libraries. E. S. Nelson; SUNY College at Cortland
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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