Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Christopher Freeburg’s Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life offers a crucial new reading of a neglected aspect of African American literature and art across the long twentieth century. Rejecting the idea that the most dehumanizing of black experiences, such as lynching or other racial violence, have completely robbed victims of their personhood, Freeburg rethinks what it means to be a person in the works of black artists. This book advances the idea that individual persons always retain the ability to withhold, express, or change their ideas, and this concept has profound implications for long-held assumptions about the relationship between black interior life and black collective political interests.

Examining an array of seminal black texts—from Ida B. Wells’s antilynching pamphlets to works by Richard Wright, Nina Simone, and Toni Morrison—Freeburg demonstrates that the personhood represented by these writers unsettles rather than automatically strengthens black subjects’ relationships to political movements such as racial uplift, civil rights, and black nationalism. He shows how black artists illuminate the challenges of racial collectivity while stressing the vital stakes of individual personhood. In his challenge to current African Americanist criticism, Freeburg makes a striking contribution to our understanding of African American literature and culture.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationCharlottesville
PublisherUniversity of Virginia Press
Number of pages172
ISBN (Electronic)9780813940335
ISBN (Print)9780813940328 , 9780813940311
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Personhood
Black Aesthetic
Person
Artist
African American Literature
Americanist
Pamphlets
Lynching
Black Nationalism
Africa
Writer
African American Art
Criticism
Richard Wright
African-American Culture
Collectivity
Civil Rights
Stakes

Cite this

Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life. / Freeburg, Christopher Charles.

Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2017. 172 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Freeburg CC. Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017. 172 p. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1v2xttp
Freeburg, Christopher Charles. / Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life. Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2017. 172 p.
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