Pitch black, black pitch: Theorizing African American literature

Marquis Bey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


These elements of social modality come to bear on the historical situation of the text, the writer, and various constituent reader-groups that “choose” the text, but I mean historical situatedness primarily as the enunciative conditions that surround a particular act of speaking/writing and the textual densities (“writings” that precede) flowing back against it. In that regard, African American fictional texts declare, by definition, a subversive move; not empowered to speak in the historical instance by any act of morality, legislation, or rule of cultural precedence; by tradition, the subject of speaking in others, but not a speaking subject itself, the “largest poet” (who has far less to do with particular writers’ identities than I personally like) of writings by black writers inscribes a fugitive condition. She or he is history’s “runaway” person, the missing commodity of the gross national product, whose whereabouts were once top secret (from about A.D. 1619, Jamestown, the colonial South, to the present).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-167
Number of pages63
JournalNew Centennial Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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