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STURDY BLACK BRIDGES: Visions of Black Women in Literature by Roseann P.; Bettye J. Parker & Beverly Guy Sheftall--Eds. Bell

STURDY BLACK BRIDGES: Visions of Black Women in Literature


Pub Date: March 16th, 1979
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday

Three editor-contributors (two English professors from Cornell and Northeastern Illinois, one Emery grad student) cut and paste an ""incomplete and fluid"" anthology (of admittedly ""eclectical commitments"") aiming at ""a correct analysis"" of black women. They reject traditional stereotypes--all negative, they say--and substitute ""real people"" of Africa, the Caribbean, and ""Afro-America."" All this in three diverse sections: (1) ""The Analytical Vision"" described as ""an attempt to formulate a diasporic nexus of critical thought"" but really just some wildly uneven and (heaven forbid) traditional lit-crit; (2) ""The Conversational Vision"" made up of interesting though old interviews with some established women writers (Ann Perry, Toni Cade Bambara) and some unknown male ""critics"" who put them down; and (3) ""The Creative Vision,"" a random and too-brief mix of poems and stories. A few good essays seem to be reprinted (without apparent acknowledgment) from other sources; other pieces come ponderously from the editors and some recurrent friends. And all stuck together--more or less--with pseudo-scholarly glue: a preface and at least four florid introductions, incomplete biographical notes on contributors, and (for readers who wonder about when and where things were written) astonishingly uninformative headnotes. Long bibliographies of African, Afro-American, and Caribbean writing, however, are helpful though ""inexhaustive."" Such perspective as this overly ambitious project has is mainly anti-white, anti-woman (novelist Toni Morrison is dismissed for writing too much about women), and virulently anti-feminist (feminist theory comes from ""a predominantly Jewish elite group""). All in all, this jumble is not so much a black document as a white elephant.