African American Literary Theory: A Reader is the first volume to document the central texts and arguments in African American literary theory from the 1920s through the present. As the volume progresses chrologically from the rise of a black aesthetic criticism, through the Blacks Arts Movement, feminism, structuralism and poststructuralism, and the rise of queer theory, it focuses on the key arguments, themes, and debates in each period. By constantly bringing attention to the larger political and cultural issues at stake in the interpretation of literary texts, the critics gathered here have contributed mightily to the prominence and popularity of African American literature in this country and abroad. African American Literary Theory provides a unique historical analysis of how these thinkers have shaped literary theory, and literature at large, and will be a indispensable text for the study of African American intellectual culture. Contributors include Sandra Adell, Michael Awkward, Houston A. Baker, Jr., Hazel V. Carby, Barbara Christian, W.E.B. DuBois, Ann duCille, Ralph Ellison, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Addison Gayle Jr., Carolyn F. Gerald, Evelynn Hammonds, Phillip Brian Harper, Mae Gwendolyn Henderson, Stephen E. Henderson, Karla F.C. Holloway, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Joyce A. Joyce, Alain Locke, Wahneema Lubia, Deborah E. McDowell, Harryette Mullen, Larry Neal, Charles I. Nero, Robert F. Reid-Pharr, Marlon B. Ross, George S. Schuyler, Barbara Smith, Valerie Smith, Hortense J. Spillers, Sherley Anne Williams, and Richard Wright.
Winston Napier is E. Franklin Frazier Assistant Professor of African American Literature and Critical Theory at Clark University in Worcester, MA.