Black Novelist as White Racist: The Myth of Black Inferiority in the Novels of Oscar Micheaux Joseph A. Young

ISBN: 9780313257490

Published: August 7th 1989

Hardcover

193 pages


Description

Black Novelist as White Racist: The Myth of Black Inferiority in the Novels of Oscar Micheaux  by  Joseph A. Young

Black Novelist as White Racist: The Myth of Black Inferiority in the Novels of Oscar Micheaux by Joseph A. Young
August 7th 1989 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, ZIP | 193 pages | ISBN: 9780313257490 | 4.77 Mb

In exceptionally close analyses of six novels by black writer Oscar Micheaux (1884-1948?) beginning with The Conquest, written in 1913, The Forged Note (1915), The Homesteader (1917), The Wind from Nowhere (1941), The Case of Mrs. WingateMoreIn exceptionally close analyses of six novels by black writer Oscar Micheaux (1884-1948?) beginning with The Conquest, written in 1913, The Forged Note (1915), The Homesteader (1917), The Wind from Nowhere (1941), The Case of Mrs. Wingate (1945), and The Story of Dorothy Stanfield (1946), Young traces the development of Micheauxs racial theories and of his stance as apologist for American imperialism.

Young argues that these novels are examples of the detrimental effect of oppressive myths on early twentieth-century black behavior and values. The characters in the novels tend to mirror the black stereotypes of the post-bellum confederate romanticists, both the Cavalier racists and the Negrophobes. Adopting the world view of the oppressor required that Micheaux reject both his own blackness and that of his racial kinsmen. Along with many other black writers, Micheaux believed that to assimilate, blacks must learn to pass for white by adopting Anglo-Saxon values, myths, and philosophy. The novels make statements about life from a point of view that exaggerates the worst side of black character, perpetuating the myth of black inferiority that the black protagonists transcend.

Young explores the influences of both Jack London and Friedrich Nietzsche on Micheauxs heroes. Micheauxs significance lies less as a figure of literary merit than as an especially graphic example of a black artist unwittingly espousing the beliefs of the oppressor rather than writing out of a truly black aesthetic philosophy. Ironically, Micheaux not only perpetuated racist myths in his novels, but was the victim of such myths as well. Between 1919 and 1948 Micheaux also wrote, directed, and produced over thirty films and was perhaps the most important Afro-American filmmaker before the Civil Rights Movement.The only in-depth study of Micheauxs novels, and one rich in period detail and insights into the evolution of black stereotypes as reflected in the novels of a black artist, Black Novelist as White Racist would be useful to students and teachers of Afro-American Literature and Plains and Western Literature, as well as to those interested in race theory, film history, and sociology.



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