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Title: Resistance and reaction : Black American fictional representations of the Communist Party, 1940-1952
Author: Bergin, Cathy.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3461 3735
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2004
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The thesis is an investigation into representations of the Communist Party in black American fiction from 1940 to 1952. The focal texts are Richard Wright's Native Son (1940), Chester Himes's Lonely Crusade (1947) and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952). I examine the impact of Communism on a generation of black writers and consider how black identity in the novels is constructed in relation to the political ideology of the Communist Party. Placing the novels in their socio-historical context I take issue with many of the literary-critical assumptions about the "anti- Communism" of the three novels and focus rather on the historically specific nature of their engagement with the Communist Party. I argue that where negative Communist Party fictional representation is apparent, Communism is not dismissed as incapable of meeting the demands of black political identity but castigated for its refusal to do so. A detailed focus on the political milieu in which these texts operate therefore challenges many of the presumptions, about the "inability" of Communism to comprehend racial oppression, which dominate literary critical approaches to these novels. The textual analysis of the three novels which follows is informed by the complex formations of black political agency presumed and reproduced by American Communism during the Depression
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available