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Published: 14 December 1989

320 Pages | photos

5-5/16 x 8 inches

ISBN: 9780195060751

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Bookseller Code (01)

The Signifying Monkey

A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

This groundbreaking study explores the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, Gates uncovers a unique system of interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World. He uses this critical framework to reassess several major works of African-American literature, including Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo.