Afroamerican Literature: "The Tragic Mulatta"

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Afroamerican Literature: "The Tragic Mulatta"

Post by paolo74 » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:27 pm

Dear all,

I'm from Italy and I'm looking for some quality titles or information about the topic "Tragic Mulatta" in Afroamerican Literature.

There is somebody, who can help me to find documentation or can give me some advice?

Thank you very much

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Tragic Mulatta

Post by aysunkaynak » Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:35 pm

Nineteenth-Century Literature
March 2002, Vol. 56, No. 4, Pages 495-517
Posted online on December 3, 2003.

The White Blackbird: Miscegenation, Genre, and the Tragic Mulatta in Howells, Harper, and the "Babes of Romance"

Debra J. Rosenthal‌

In this essay I construct a literary genealogy that situates William Dean Howells in the middle of a call-and-response literary conversation with popular women writers about race, gender, and genre. Since Howells correlated racial questions with realism, his only novel that treats intermarriage, An Imperative Duty (1891), offered Howells an opportunity to deploy his presumably objective, scientific, realist knowledge about race in order to challenge women's romantic miscegenation plots found in Margret Holmes Bates's The Chamber over the Gate (1886) and Alice Morris Buckner's Towards the Gulf (1887), two novels that he had recently read and reviewed. Yet the tragic mulatta stereotype, a stock figure of romanticism and sentimentality that was resistant to scientific discourse, ruptures Howells's goal of representing the figure according to the tenets of realism. In Iola Leroy (1892), Frances Ellen Watkins Harper cunningly recasts the tragic mulatta stereotype both to critique Howells's project and to represent the potential of black womanhood. Knowledge of Bates and Buckner can change critical conversation about the influence of women writers on Howells, the understanding of the role of the racialized woman in his fiction, and his conception of the link between the romantic mulatta and realist representation. Likewise, Harper takes issue with Howells's supposed ironic sophistication about race, and in Iola Leroy she rewrites many of his views in order to show the ways that miscegenation is at once a novelistic and a national problem.

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