Double-Consciousness/Double Bind: Theoretical Issues in Twentieth-Century Black Literature

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In this provocative study of major twentieth century African-American writers and critics, Sandra Adell takes an unprecedented look at the relationship between black literature and criticism and the complex ensemble of Western literature, criticism, and philosophy. Adell's investigation begins with an analysis of the metaphysical foundations of W. E. B. Du Bois's famous formulation of double-consciousness and how black writing bears the traces of such European philosophers as Kant, Hegel, and Marx. She then examines, in the double context of black literature and European philosophy, the writings of such major authors and essayists as Richard Wright, Leopold Senghor, Maya Angelou, Houston A. Baker, Jr., and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Adell gives a thoughtful analysis of the double bind created by conflicting claims of Euro- and Afrocentrism in black literature.