A Spectacular Secret
Lynching in American Life and Literature New edition
By (author) Jacqueline Goldsby
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Spectacular Secret by Jacqueline Goldsby
Book DescriptionThis incisive study takes on one of the grimmest secrets in America's national life - the history of lynching and, more generally, the public punishment of African Americans. Jacqueline Goldsby shows that lynching cannot be explained away as a phenomenon peculiar to the South or as the perverse culmination of racist politics. Rather, lynching - a highly visible form of social violence that has historically been shrouded in secrecy - was in fact a fundamental part of the national consciousness whose cultural logic played a pivotal role in the making of American modernity. To pursue this argument, Goldsby traces lynching's history by taking up select mob murders and studying them together with key literary works. She focuses on three prominent authors - Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Stephen Crane, and James Weldon Johnson - and shows how their own encounters with lynching influenced their analyses of it. She also examines a recently assembled archive of evidence - lynching photographs - to show how photography structured the nation's perception of lynching violence before World War I. Finally, Goldsby considers the way lynching persisted into the twentieth century, discussing the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 and the ballad-elegies of Gwendolyn Brooks to which his murder gave rise. An empathic and perceptive work, "A Spectacular Secret" will make an important contribution to the study of American history and literature.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780226301389
(231mm x 186mm x 28mm)
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 15-Sep-2006
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Jacqueline Goldsby
Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Paperback (April 2015)» View all books by Jacqueline Goldsby
The Norton Critical Edition of this influential Harlem Renaissance novel includes related materials available in no other edition.
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Author Biography - Jacqueline Goldsby
Jacqueline Goldsby is assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago.
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