George Schuyler: An Afrofuturist Before His Time

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2019-09-17 17:18Z by Steven

George Schuyler: An Afrofuturist Before His Time

The New York Review of Books
2018-01-19

Danzy Senna


Jacob Lawrence: Harlem Street Scene, 1942
Private Collection/Christie’s Images/Bridgeman Images/The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The first time I read George Schuyler’s 1931 novel, Black No More, it confused and unsettled me. Black No More is based on a fantastical, speculative premise: What if there were a machine that could turn black people permanently white? What if such a machine were invented in and introduced to 1920s America, a time of both increasing racial pride and persistent racial violence? What would the social and political implications be of such a race-reversal machine? What would it reveal about society? What lies and hypocrisies about blackness and whiteness and American identity would be revealed by the chaos that would ensue?

I was in college at the time I first read the book, and not quite ready for its cynical, almost misanthropic vision of race and society.

I had just reached that stage of racial identity that psychologist William Cross, in his 1971 “Negro-to-Black Conversion Experience,” called “immersion.” The immersion stage (number three of five) is when you eat, drink, and excrete blackness. It’s when you bite off the head of anybody who questions whether you, no matter how high your yellow, are anything less than Afrika Bambaataa.

What unsettled me about Black No More wasn’t just what I knew of Schuyler’s vaguely messed-up politics (which became a whole lot less vague and a whole lot more messed up in the decades following the novel’s publication). It was also that Schuyler was so merciless—about everyone. At the exact moment I was finding power and purpose in my black identity, he was telling me race didn’t exist…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Reassignment Surgery and the Dissolution of the Color Line: Afrofuturist Satire in George Schuyler’s Black No More and Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-08-30 23:55Z by Steven

Racial Reassignment Surgery and the Dissolution of the Color Line: Afrofuturist Satire in George Schuyler’s Black No More and Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine

Third Stone: devoted to Afrofuturism and other modes of the Black Fantastic
Volume 1, Issue 1 (2019)
Article 17
12 pages

Christopher A. Varlack, Lecturer
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Racial passing, during the antebellum period, was a way in which African-American peoples sought to escape the throes of slavery and the physical and psychological abuse associated with the plantation tradition. In time, racial passing became a way of obtaining the social, economic, and political opportunities denied people of color in the discriminatory and racially-biased United States. This study, however, examines a specific form of racial passing–that of racial reassignment surgery–as explored in George Schuyler’s Black No More and Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine as a way to test the theory that assimilation and miscegenation would one day resolve the color line that had left generations of African-American peoples disenfranchised and dispossessed. At the same time, this study examines the Afrofuturist sensibilities in these two key works of the Harlem Renaissance era and present day to understand how such authors not only counter the troubling histories of their time but also propose counter-futures that would otherwise have been buried beneath the cultural oppression of Jim Crow and other more modern forms of racism.

Read the entire article here.

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Tragic Mulatto Girl Wonder: The paradoxical life of Philippa Duke Schuyler

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2013-06-12 22:27Z by Steven

Tragic Mulatto Girl Wonder: The paradoxical life of Philippa Duke Schuyler

QBR The Black Book Review
February/March 1996

Lise Funderburg

Composition in Black and White: The Life of Philippa Schuyler. By Kathryn Talalay. Illustrated. 317 pp. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509608-8.

As a child prodigy, pianist and composer, Philippa Duke Schuyler incited both awe and envy. Performing at the 1939 New York World’s Fair when she was just eight, she seemed to live a charmed life, full of whirlwind concert tours in distant lands, where she met politicians, artists and royals. But while she was known as a gifted and serious musician and, later, a journalist, she was also viewed as the quintessential tragic mulatto. (Her father was the conservative black journalist and satirical novelist George Schuyler; her mother, a rebellious white Southern belle who married across the color line.) She seemed trapped at times by her talents and the constraints of relentlessly watchful parents whose aspirations for her were often suffocating. She acquired a reputation both as a temptress whose greatest interest in life was men and sex and as a perpetually frightened child. When she died in 1967, at age 35, in a helicopter crash in Vietnam during a war-orphan airlift, she met with a final irony. For all her achievements and worldliness, she could not swim to save her life…

Read the entire review here.

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Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, AD 1933-1940

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2012-08-08 01:58Z by Steven

Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, AD 1933-1940

Random House
1999 (Originally Published: 1931)
208 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-375-75380-0

George S. Schuyler (1895-1977)

Introduction by Ishmael Reed

What would happen to the race problem in America if black people turned white? Would everybody be happy? These questions and more are answered hilariously in Black No More, George S. Schuyler’s satiric romp. Black No More is the story of Max Disher, a dapper black rogue of an insurance man who, through a scientific transformation process, becomes Matthew Fisher, a white man. Matt dreams up a scam that allows him to become the leader of the Knights of Nordica, a white supremacist group, as well as to marry the white woman who rejected him when he was black. Black No More is a hysterical exploration of race and all its self-serving definitions. If you can’t beat them, turn into them.

Ishmael Reed, one of today’s top black satirists and the author of Mumbo Jumbo and Japanese by Spring, provides a spirited Introduction.

The fertile artistic period now known as the Harlem Renaissance (1920-1930) gave birth to many of the world-renowned masters of black literature and is the model for today’s renaissance of black writers.

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The Absurdity of America: George S. Schuyler’s Black No More

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2012-02-26 03:52Z by Steven

The Absurdity of America: George S. Schuyler’s Black No More

EnterText: an interdisciplinary humanities e-journal
Volume 1, Number 1 (Winter 2000) Americas, Americans
pages 127-148

Joseph Mills, Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others…. One ever feels his two-ness—an American, a Negro—two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled striving; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

What do we want?… We want to be Americans, full-fledged Americans, with all the rights of other American citizens. But is that all?… We who are dark can see America in a way that white Americans can not. And seeing our country thus, are we satisfied with its present goals and ideals?
– W. E. B. DuBois, “Criteria of Negro Art” (1921)

In 1931 George S. Schuyler published Black No More, a satire about Americans’ obsession with race. The book was controversial, in part, because Schuyler mocked African-American leaders. The novel contains parodies of Marcus Garvey, N.A.A.C.P. figures, and Tuskegee leaders. For example, Shakespeare Agamemnon Beard, a caricature of W.E. B. DuBois, writes ornate overblown editorials for The Dilemma, claims an “exotic” heritage, and “like most Negro leaders, he deified the black woman but abstained from employing aught save octoroons.” DuBois, himself, however, praised the book. He recognized that it would be “abundantly misunderstood,” because, “the writer of satire . . . is always misunderstood by the simple.” Although Black No More contained “scathing criticism of Negro leaders,” DuBois noted with admiration that the satire then “passes over and slaps the white people just as hard and unflinchingly straight in the face.” In many ways, Black No More demonstrates satire’s democratic potential. Mockery becomes the great leveller, and by ridiculing all, the novel calls into question racial and class hierarchies. In a letter to H. L. Mencken, Schuyler stated his intentions: “What I have tried to do in this novel is to laugh the color question out of school by showing up its ridiculousness and absurdity…I have tried… to portray the spectacle as a combination madhouse, burlesque show and Coney Island.”

Unfortunately, as DuBois anticipated, the novel has been misunderstood. In a 1971 introduction to the book, Charles Larson states, “It would be easy—and some people would perhaps say better—to ignore Schuyler’s first novel,” and Margaret Perry’s comment that “we cannot dismiss [Black No More] entirely” reveals a desire to do just that. In fact, for decades Schuyler’s work overall has been denigrated or overlooked. To give only one example, in Cary Wintz’s Black Culture and the Harlem Renaissance, a table of “Year-by-Year Publication of Major Works of the Harlem Renaissance, 1922-1935” has almost fifty titles but does not include Schuyler’s books. In the 1990s, however, Robert A. Hill and R. Kent Rasmussen recovered a significant amount of Schuyler’s pulp fiction, and, in doing so, they demonstrated the need to re-evaluate Schuyler’s work. In particular, Black No More, Schuyler’s major literary achievement, needs to be reassessed. Considered by Arthur Davis to be “the best work of prose satire to come from the New Negro Movement,” and one of the few works of the time to use satire, the novel makes an important contribution to the discourse of race and national identity…

…The book’s most damning indictment of this “urge towards whiteness” is a shocking lynching scene. Southern aristocrat Arthur Snobbcraft, the head of an elitist Anglo-Saxon association, joins forces with the Knights of Nordica to run a presidential campaign. Snobbcraft organizes a massive genealogy project to determine how much of the population has Negro blood. He intends to use the results to whip up national hysteria over the dangers of miscegenation; however, the plan backfires when his chief researcher, Dr. Buggerie, discovers that at least fifty million people who are considered “white” have a mixed heritage, including Buggerie, Knights of Nordica leader Givens, and Snobbcraft himself. After his opponents steal the information and give it to the newspapers, Snobbcraft tries to flee the country, but his plane runs out of gas and has to land in Mississippi. Snobbcraft and Buggerie decide to disguise themselves with shoe-polish blackface, but they run into members of the True Love Christ Lover’s Church, a group which has been praying for one last Negro to lynch. When they wipe off their blackface, they are accepted as Caucasians until one of the few church members who can read sees a newspaper article detailing their mixed ancestry. Snobbcraft and Buggerie are then mutilated, tortured and killed in an orgiastic frenzy…

…There occur two dynamics in Black No More: a whitening at the level of skin and a blackening at the level of blood. Although the process of Black No More, Inc. “whitens,” the genealogical research of Buggerie “blackens” at least half of the population by revealing their mixed ancestry. When he learns of the research, Givens acknowledges, “I guess we’re all niggers now;” his comment echoes one made earlier by one of the owners of Black No More who noted that “Everything that looks white ain’t white in this man’s country.” In fact, almost nothing is white in the country. Schuyler dedicates Black No More to “all Caucasians in the great republic who can trace their ancestry back ten generations and confidently assert that there are no Black leaves, twigs, limbs of branches on their family trees.” The tone conveys his doubt that anyone can do this. Schuyler believed that America refused to admit that it consisted of a mulatto culture. In this sense, when he states in “The Negro-Art Hokum” that “the American Negro is just plain American,” he is insisting not only on the “Americanness” of the Negro, but also on the “Negroness” of America…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing Fancies: Color, much more than race, dominated the fiction of the Harlem Renaissance

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing, United States on 2012-02-17 05:09Z by Steven

Passing Fancies: Color, much more than race, dominated the fiction of the Harlem Renaissance

The Wall Street Journal
2011-09-03

James Campbell

Harlem Renaissance Novels, Edited by Rafia Zafar, Library of America, 1,715 pages

Harlem in the autumn of 1924 offered a “foretaste of paradise,” according to the novelist Arna Bontemps. He was recalling the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance and was perhaps a little dazzled in retrospect—Bontemps was writing in 1965—by his memories of “strings of fairy lights” illuminating the uptown “broad avenues” at dusk.

A gloomier perspective is found in the writings of James Baldwin, born in Harlem Hospital in August 1924. His novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (1953) and his memoir, “The Fire Next Time” (1963), both evoke a Harlem childhood dominated by poverty, fear, brutality, with the dim torch of salvation locked in a storefront church. Baldwin scarcely mentions the renaissance or its principals in all his writings—despite the remarkable coincidence of his having attended schools where two mainstays of any account of the Harlem Renaissance were teachers: the poet Countee Cullen and the novelist Jessie Redmon

…Any rebirth is bound to be bloody, and perhaps the better for it. Grudge, guilt and prejudice notwithstanding, the Harlem Renaissance produced a lot of good writing, some of it worth reading eight decades later. Almost all the novels chosen by Rafia Zafar for the Library of America’s two-volume collection contain scenes of interest, even when the interest is mainly sociological. (The exception is George Schuyler’s 1931 “Black No More,” a far-fetched, burlesque yarn about passing for white that might have been omitted in favor of Van Vechten’s “Nigger Heaven.”) The predominant theme of the majority of novels here—to the point of obsession—is not so much prejudice as plain color. Bigoted white voices are heard, but light-skinned blacks expressing distaste for their darker neighbors speak louder. As the heroine of Nella Larsen’s “Quicksand” (1928) observes: “Negro society . . . was as complicated and as rigid in its ramifications as the highest strata of white society.”

The most arresting tale, in this respect, is “The Blacker the Berry” (1929) by Wallace Thurman, in which poor Emma Lou Morgan, daughter of a “quite fair” mother, realizes that her “luscious black complexion” is despised by those around her, many of whom can pass for white. Emma Lou’s “unwelcome black mask” has been inherited from her “no good” father, who had “never been in evidence.” Ill-treatment from white students and teachers at school is bad enough; but when Emma Lou gets to Harlem, the humiliation turns to cruelty. She tries to rent a room from a West Indian woman. “A little girl had come to the door, and, in answer to a voice in the back asking, ‘Who is it, Cora?’ had replied, ‘monkey chaser wants to see the room you got to rent.’ ” Emma Lou remains, for the time being, homeless. When she shows her admiration “boldly” for an “intelligent-looking, slender, light-brown-skinned” man on Seventh Avenue, he “looked at her, then over her, and passed on.” Far worse are a group of Harlem youths who notice Emma Lou powdering her nose near the same spot…

…It was the same sigh, rather than crude shame, that led Jean Toomer to describe himself on his marriage certificate of 1931 as “white.” His exquisite sequence of prose episodes and poems, “Cane” (1923), is the earliest of the books gathered here. It requires but a sampling of Toomer’s humid Georgia prose to induce in the reader a different quality of intoxication from that brought about by the rough beverages of McKay, Hughes and Schuyler: “Karintha, at twelve, was a wild flash that told the other folks just what it was to live. At sunset, when there was no wind, and the pine-smoke from over by the sawmill hugged the earth, and you couldn’t see more than a few feet in front, her sudden darting past you was a bit of vivid color, like a black bird that flashes in light. With the other children one could hear, some distance off, their feet flopping in the two-inch dust. Karintha’s running was a whir.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Crossing the Color Line: Narratives of Passing in American Literature

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2012-01-03 22:58Z by Steven

Crossing the Color Line: Narratives of Passing in American Literature

St. Mary’s College of Maryland
English 400.01
Fall 2008

Christine Wooley, Assistant Professor of English
     
This course will consider representations of passing (and thus also miscegenation) in nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. culture. While passing has often been depicted-and dismissed-as an act of racial betrayal, more recent criticism has suggested that we view these depictions of racial transgression and deception in more complicated ways. In this class, we will analyze various narratives centered around passing and miscegenation as sites through which we can better examine-and understand-the construction of racial identities in particular historical and political contexts. We will ask whether or not narratives about passing and miscegenation challenge the stability of racial categories. Likewise, we will pay close attention to how such narratives also engage issues of class, ethnicity, and gender. Syllabus may include works by authors such as Harriet Wilson, William Wells Brown, Lydia Maria Child, Frances Harper, William Dean Howells, Pauline Hopkins, Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, George Schuyler, Toni Morrison, and Philip Roth. In addition, this class will also draw on a selection of historical and legal documents, current critical works on race, and films such as The Jazz Singer and Imitation of Life.

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African-American Reflections on Brazil’s Racial Paradise

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-12-12 17:30Z by Steven

African-American Reflections on Brazil’s Racial Paradise

Temple University Press
February 1992
276 pages
5.5 x 8.25
Cloth ISBN: 0-87722-892-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-59213-104-4

Edited by

David J. Hellwig, Professor Emeritus of Interdisciplinary Studies
St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Essays that focus on the authors’ observations of race relations in Brazil from the first decade of the century through the 1980s

At the turn of the twentieth century, the popular image of Brazil was that of a tropical utopia for people of color, and it was looked upon as a beacon of hope by African Americans. Reports of this racial paradise were affirmed by notable black observers until the middle of this century, when the myth began to be challenged by North American blacks whose attitudes were influenced by the civil rights movement and burgeoning black militancy. The debate continued and the myth of the racial paradise was eventually rejected as black Americans began to see the contradictions of Brazilian society as well as the dangers for people of color.

David Hellwig has assembled numerous observations of race relations in Brazil from the first decade of the century through the 1980s. Originally published in newspapers and magazines, the selected commentaries are written by a wide range of African-American scholars, journalists, and educators, and are addressed to a general audience.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Introcution: The Myth of the Racial Paradise
  • Part I: The Myth Affirmed (1900-1940)
    • 1. “Brazilian Visitors in Norfolk”
    • 2. “Brazil vs. United States”
    • 3. “Brazil and the Black Race”
    • 4. “Brazil” – W.E.B. Du Bois
    • 5. “Opportunities in Brazil: South American Country Offers First Hand Knowledge of the Solving of the Race Question”
    • 6. “Brazil” – Cyril V. Briggs
    • 7. “Wonderful Opportunities Offered in Brazil for Thrifty People of All Races” – Associated Negro Press
    • 8. “South America and Its Prospects in 1920” – L. H. Stinson
    • 9. “Brazil as I Found It” – E.R. James
    • 10. “Sidelights on Brazil Racial Conditions” – Frank St. Claire
    • 11. “My Trip Through South America” – Robert S. Abbott
    • 12. “Sightseeing in South America” – William Pickens
  • Part II: The Myth Debated (1940-1965)
    • 13. “The Color Line in South America’s Largest Republic” – Ollie Stewart
    • 14. “Stewart in Error – No Color Line in Brazil” – James W. Ivy
    • 15. Letter by W.E.B. Du Bois to Edward Weeks, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2, 1941
    • 16. “Brazil Has No Race Problem” – E. Franklin Frazier
    • 17. “A Comparison of Negro-White Relations in Brazil and the United States” – E. Franklin Frazier
    • 18. Excerpt from Quest for Dignity: An Autobiography of a Negro Doctor – Thomas Roy Peyton
    • 19. “Brazilian Color Bias Growing More Rampant” – George S. Schuyler
    • 20. “The Negro in Brazil” – Lorenzo D. Turner
  • Part III: The Myth Rejected (1965-)
    • 21. “From Roxbury to Rio-and Back in a Hurry” – Angela M. Gilliam
    • 22. “Brazil: Study in Black, Brown and Beige” – Leslie B. Rout, Jr.
    • 23. “Equality in Brazil: Confronting Reality” – Cleveland Donald, Jr.
    • 24. “‘Mestizaje’ vs. Black Identity: The Color Crisis in Latin America” – Richard L. Jackson
    • 25. “Black Consciousness vs. Racism in Brazil” – Niani (Dee Brown)
    • 26. “Brazil and the Blacks of South America” – Gloria Calomee
    • 27. “In Harmony with Brazil’s African Pulse” – Rachel Jackson Christmas
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To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-10-24 01:40Z by Steven

To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance

University Press of Mississippi
1999
202 pages
Cloth: 157806130X (9781578061303)
Paper: 1578061318 (9781578061310)

Jon Woodson, Professor of English
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Jean Toomer’s adamant stance against racism and his call for a raceless society were far more complex than the average reader of works from the Harlem Renaissance might believe. In To Make a New Race Jon Woodson explores the intense influence of Greek-born mystic G. I. Gurdjieff on the thinking of Toomer and his coterie—Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, George Schuyler, Wallace Thurman—and, through them, the mystic’s influence on many of the notables in African American literature.

Gurdjieff, born of poor Greco-Armenian parents on the Russo-Turkish frontier, espoused the theory that man is asleep and in prison unless he strains against the major burdens of life, especially those of identification, like race. Toomer, whose novel Cane became an inspiration to many later Harlem Renaissance writers, traveled to France and labored at Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. Later, the writer became one of the primary followers approved to teach Gurdjieff’s philosophy in the United States.

Woodson’s is the first study of Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance to look beyond contemporary portrayals of the mystic in order to judge his influence. Scouring correspondence, manuscripts, and published texts, Woodson finds the direct links in which Gurdjieff through Toomer played a major role in the development of “objective literature.” He discovers both coded and explicit ways in which Gurdjieff’s philosophy shaped the world views of writers well into the 1960s. Moreover Woodson reinforces the extensive contribution Toomer and other African-American writers with all their international influences made to the American cultural scene.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1 Jean Toomer: Beside You Will Stand a Strange Man
  • 2 Wallace Thurman: Beyond Race and Color
  • 3 Rudolph Fisher: Minds of Another Order
  • 4 Nella Larsen: The Anatomy of “Sleep”
  • 5 George Schuyler: New Races and New Worlds
  • 6 Zora Neale Hurston: The Self and the Nation
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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To Be Suddenly White: Literary Realism and Racial Passing

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing on 2011-08-19 17:42Z by Steven

To Be Suddenly White: Literary Realism and Racial Passing

University of Missouri Press
2006
296 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 978-0-8262-1619-9

Steven J. Belluscio, Associate Professor of English
Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York

To Be Suddenly White explores the troubled relationship between literary passing and literary realism, the dominant aesthetic motivation behind the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century ethnic texts considered in this study. Steven J. Belluscio uses the passing narrative to provide insight into how the representation of ethnic and racial subjectivity served, in part, to counter dominant narratives of difference.

To Be Suddenly White offers new readings of traditional passing narratives from the African American literary tradition, such as James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, Nella Larsen’s Passing, and George Schuyler’s Black No More. It is also the first full-length work to consider a number of Jewish American and Italian American prose texts, such as Mary Antin’s The Promised Land, Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, and Guido d’Agostino’s Olives on the Apple Tree, as racial passing narratives in their own right. Belluscio also demonstrates the contradictions that result from the passing narrative’s exploration of racial subjectivity, racial difference, and race itself.

When they are seen in comparison, ideological differences begin to emerge between African American passing narratives and “white ethnic” (Jewish American and Italian American) passing narratives. According to Belluscio, the former are more likely to engage in a direct critique of ideas of race, while the latter have a tendency to become more simplistic acculturation narratives in which a character moves from a position of ethnic difference to one of full American identity.

The desire “to be suddenly white” serves as a continual point of reference for Belluscio, enabling him to analyze how writers, even when overtly aware of the problematic nature of race (especially African American writers), are also aware of the conditions it creates, the transformations it provokes, and the consequences of both. By examining the content and context of these works, Belluscio elucidates their engagement with discourses of racial and ethnic differences, assimilation, passing, and identity, an approach that has profound implications for the understanding of American literary history.

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