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Other titles in the New Black Studies series:
Freud Upside Down: African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture (New Black Studies)by Badia Sahar Ahad
Synopses & Reviews
This thought-provoking cultural history explores how psychoanalytic theories shaped the works of important African American literary figures. Badia Sahar Ahad details how Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, Ralph Ellison, Adrienne Kennedy, and Danzy Senna employed psychoanalytic terms and conceptual models to challenge notions of race and racism in twentieth-century America.
Freud Upside Down explores the relationship between these authors and intellectuals and the psychoanalytic movement emerging in the United States over the course of the twentieth century. Examining how psychoanalysis has functioned as a cultural phenomenon within African American literary intellectual communities since the 1920s, Ahad lays out the historiography of the intersections between African American literature and psychoanalysis and considers the creative approaches of African American writers to psychological thought in their work and their personal lives.
Book News Annotation:
Ahad (English, Loyola University) reflects on the ways in which African American authors have incorporated psychoanalytic theories into their work, especially as it touches upon Black interiority and concepts of race. Beginning in the 1920s, she employs the work of Nella Larsen, Jean Toomer, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Adrienne Kennedy and Danzy Seena. Ahad counters the argument that using Freudian ideas is buying into the dominant culture by demonstrating the ways in which these writers adapted Freud to address issues of race, sex and gender. She notes that the questions of individualism and identity are particularly apt. Her analysis is neither for nor against Freud; she is interested in the fact that the popularity of his theories were just as much a part of Black literary culture as White. In terms of race, they were used to encourage cultural integration and also, individual autonomy. Her points are subtle and often at odds with other literary critics who prefer to ignore the appropriation of psychoanalysis in explorations of race. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Badia Sahar Ahad is an assistant professor of English at Loyola University.
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