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English Language and Literature

African American Literary Criticism; African American Literature; History; Memory; Paratextuality; Reception Studies

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Errant Memory In African American Literature Of The Long Nineteenth Century, Tristan Alexander Striker May 2015

Errant Memory In African American Literature Of The Long Nineteenth Century, Tristan Alexander Striker

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In this dissertation, I trace the complex black literary trope of errant memory through American and African American literature. Authors of African descent are constantly subjected to what I call Africanity, or the paratextual historicizing elements provided by white interlocutors that seek to impose specific caricatures and stereotypes on them and their works to force them into the American historical narrative that depends on their dehumanized and commodified status. These caricatures and stereotypes are rooted in an Africa imagined by these white interlocutors, one that does not match any reality. Authors of African descent transcend this paratextual Africanity through what ...