November 26, 2012

Significance of Race and Literature

“The truth is that, with the fading of the Renaissance ideal through progressive stages of specialism, leading to intellectual emptiness, we are left with a potentially suicidal movement among ‘leaders of the profession’…” Gates has a strong opinion on race being a meaningful category to the study of literature. However, he states that many theorists and authors would argue that race does not play a role in literature but I cannot seem to understand why they would argue against Gates claim. Literature is used around the entire world; there are many races in the entire world as well as many different languages. “The question of the place of texts written by the Other in the proper study of ‘literature’, ‘Western Literature,’ or ‘comparative literature’ has, remained an unasked question…” It was not until recently was race an invisible quantity.

Another good point that was said my Taine, in which he called “race” was “source of all structures feeling and thought: to ‘track the root of man is to consider the race itself…’” As a human being, we as individuals have structure of character and mind, which it is processed through thought and feeling. Literature has thought and meaning, so how can one disagree and argue that race does not play a significant role in literature? Taine’s described his ideas about the role of race in literature in the most scientific way possible. 

1 comment:

Kate Christine said...

I completely agree. How can one think that race does not play a huge role in literature, especially African-American literature? In order to fully comprehend African-American literature as a genre, one must first understand the history of African culture. A constant struggle for recognition in a white male-dominated society, African-American literature has come a long way since the eighteenth century. The style of writing, and the common use of the vernacular set A-A Lit apart from other genres. Race and the A-A culture is seen through the text, so there should be no reason why someone would argue race doesn't play an important role in literature.

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