The Souls of Black Folk

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'The problem of the twentieth-century is the problem of the color-line.' Originally published in 1903, The Souls of Black Folk is a classic study of race, culture, and education at the turn of the twentieth century. With its singular combination of essays, memoir, and fiction, this book vaulted W. E. B. Du Bois to the forefront of American political commentary and civil rights activism. The Souls of Black Folk is an impassioned, at times searing account of the situation of African Americans in the United States. Du Bois makes a forceful case for the access of African Americans to higher education, memorably extols the achievements of black culture (above all the spirituals or 'sorrow songs'), and advances the provocative and influential argument that due to the inequalities and pressures of the 'race problem', African American identity is characterized by 'double consciousness'. This edition includes a valuable appendix of other writing by Du Bois, which sheds light on his attitudes and intentions. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Apr 5, 2007
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780191604904
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Literary Collections / Essays
Literary Criticism / American / African American
True Crime / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Few institutions seem more opposed than African American literature and J. Edgar Hoover's white-bread Federal Bureau of Investigation. But behind the scenes the FBI's hostility to black protest was energized by fear of and respect for black writing. Drawing on nearly 14,000 pages of newly released FBI files, F.B. Eyes exposes the Bureau’s intimate policing of five decades of African American poems, plays, essays, and novels. Starting in 1919, year one of Harlem’s renaissance and Hoover’s career at the Bureau, secretive FBI "ghostreaders" monitored the latest developments in African American letters. By the time of Hoover’s death in 1972, these ghostreaders knew enough to simulate a sinister black literature of their own. The official aim behind the Bureau’s close reading was to anticipate political unrest. Yet, as William J. Maxwell reveals, FBI surveillance came to influence the creation and public reception of African American literature in the heart of the twentieth century.

Taking his title from Richard Wright’s poem "The FB Eye Blues," Maxwell details how the FBI threatened the international travels of African American writers and prepared to jail dozens of them in times of national emergency. All the same, he shows that the Bureau’s paranoid style could prompt insightful criticism from Hoover’s ghostreaders and creative replies from their literary targets. For authors such as Claude McKay, James Baldwin, and Sonia Sanchez, the suspicion that government spy-critics tracked their every word inspired rewarding stylistic experiments as well as disabling self-censorship.

Illuminating both the serious harms of state surveillance and the ways in which imaginative writing can withstand and exploit it, F.B. Eyes is a groundbreaking account of a long-hidden dimension of African American literature.

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