Black Literature Criticism

The study of African American literature typically begins with examining slavery and its meaning to history in this country and its relationship with the American ideal of “freedom.” Many early writers in the genre strove to forge a new narrative form that would not only focus on the overall dehumanization of individuals through slavery in America but also examining and exploring the cultural consciousness that allowed forced migration to occur and proliferate in the first place in the so-called “land of the free.”

The period of Reconstruction following the Civil War led to literature that was more uplifting and socially conscious than in the past. Then, during the Harlem Renaissance and subsequent Black arts era, many writers began to produce fiction, poetry, and theater to create a cultural nationalism to combat Jim Crow disenfranchisement and segregation. This eventually led to the modern civil rights movement that spawned its own brand of contemporary African American literature that heralded neo-slavery, Black postmodernism, and the inclusion of Black feminism and other sexual challenges.

Today, Black literature criticism continues to develop and explore new ways of representing and examining the existing representation of race and racial identity through the exploration of the fields of gender, sexuality, and politics.

Contact my rep                   Find resources at my library

Gale eBooks

Gale's eBook collection offers a variety of eBooks that cover a wide range of literary subjects like African American poets, African American literature, African American writers, and more. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • African American Literature for Students

    African American Literature for Students

    Gale   |   2020   |   ISBN-13: 9780028666754

    African American Literature for Students contains easily accessible and content-rich discussions of the literary and historical background of 14 works from various time periods. The works—not previously covered in any For Students series—are comprised of a variety of genres, including novels, poems, short stories, and dramas. The entries include works by frequently studied and well-established authors as well as by more contemporary, up-and-coming authors.

    Each work included was specially chosen by an advisory panel of teachers and librarians—experts who have helped us define the information needs of students and ensure the age-appropriateness of this reference’s content. Within the pages of African American Literature for Students, young researchers will discover everything they need to complete homework assignments and lead classroom discussions.

    Contact my sales rep >>

  • African American Poets: Critical Survey of Poetry, 1st Edition

    African American Poets: Critical Survey of Poetry, 1st Edition

    Salem Press   |   2012   |   ISBN-13: 9781587658969

    This single-volume reference profiles major poets throughout history and the world, including analyses of their significant individual poems or collections. It discusses influential African American poets, such as Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Paul Beatty, and Alice Walker.

    Contact my sales rep >>

  • Critical Survey of American Literature, 3rd Edition

    Critical Survey of American Literature, 3rd Edition

    Salem Press   |   2016   |   ISBN-13: 9781682171479

    Critical Survey of American Literature is an indispensable guide to over 400 authors with in-depth analyses of their significant works of fiction, drama, nonfiction, young adult literature, and poetry.

    Contact my sales rep >>

  • Lucent Library of Black History: African American Literature: Sharing Powerful Stories, 1st Edition

    Lucent Library of Black History: African American Literature: Sharing Powerful Stories, 1st Edition

    Lucent Press (Rosen)   |   2018   |   ISBN-13: 9781534560789

    In this book, readers discover the challenges Black authors have faced in having their work published and being taken seriously by critics and readers alike. Engaging sidebars and detailed photographs augment this comprehensive overview of the racism that persists in the publishing industry.

    Contact my sales rep >>

  • Notable African American Writers, 2nd Edition

    Notable African American Writers, 2nd Edition

    Salem Press   |   2020   |   ISBN-13: 9781642654080

    Documenting the ever-growing African American literary tradition, this new edition highlights African Americans who wrote centuries ago as well as modern storytellers whose work reflects the changing global landscape. Readers will explore what inspired various African American writers to create poems, plays, short stories, novels, essays, opinion pieces, and other works, and how those writings contributed to American culture. From autobiography to young adult fiction, these volumes provide an overview and more in-depth context of each author's biography and literary career as well as a ready-reference listing of their major works in all genres.

    Contact my sales rep >>

Resources to Boost Your Research

From trending social issues to classic literature, Gale resources have you covered. Explore overviews, statistics, essay topics, and more or log in through your library to find even more content.

Access topics >>