The Poetics of National and Racial Identity in by John D. Kerkering

By John D. Kerkering

John D. Kerkering's examine examines the literary background of racial and nationwide id in nineteenth-century the United States. Kerkering argues that writers comparable to DuBois, Lanier, Simms, and Scott used poetic results to claim the individuality of convinced teams in a diffuse social panorama. Kerkering explores poetry's formal houses, its sound results, as they intersect with the problems of race and state. He indicates how formal results, starting from meter and rhythm to alliteration and melody, supply those writers with proof of a collective identification, no matter if nationwide or racial. via this shared reliance on formal literary results, nationwide and racial identities, Kerkering indicates, are comparable components of a unmarried literary background. this can be the tale of the way poetic results helped to outline nationwide identities in Anglo-America as a step towards aiding to outline racial identities in the usa. This hugely unique learn will command a large viewers of Americanists.

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What this argument suggests is that in taking the position mentioned by Gilroy – viewing formal effects as expressions of an essential identity rather than as semantic symbols of that identity – writers like Morrison and Heaney stand on theoretically shaky ground. Yet simply to accept this theoretical critique – that, as Negus and Vel´azquez put it, “Music is surely something else besides or other than identities, and identities are something more (or less) than music” (140) – is to risk overlooking both the fact and the influence of statements like those made by Morrison and Heaney.

Yet simply to accept this theoretical critique – that, as Negus and Vel´azquez put it, “Music is surely something else besides or other than identities, and identities are something more (or less) than music” (140) – is to risk overlooking both the fact and the influence of statements like those made by Morrison and Heaney. And when identities and musical 18 The poetics of national and racial identity sounds are linked to each other in the way Gilroy describes, they acquire the capacity – as we have seen in the passages from Morrison and Heaney above – to accomplish substantial work for the writers asserting that link.

Instead of resembling another sound (as in onomatopoeia), their writing is imagined as if it were (like smoke to fire) an index of a specific people, an effect that this people has caused. ” Unlike symbolic systems, which vary all over the world according to local conventions, Morrison sees black music as a world-wide constant, everywhere attributable to blackness much as a weathervane’s motion is everywhere attributable to the wind and a footprint is everywhere assignable to the person who made it.

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