Wednesday, March 1, 2023

A brief description of The Geographies of African American Short Stories

By Kenton Rambsy

The Geographies of African American Short Stories explains how the Big 7— Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Cade Bambara, and Alice Walker— and other selected writers such as Edward P. Jones, Rudolph Fisher, Amiri Baraka, and Henry Dumas made character depictions and culturally discrete settings consequential to the production of short fiction.

The production of their stories was facilitated by anthology editors. Consequently, this book is not a comprehensive study, but instead takes into account how the most frequently republished stories by the Big 7 plotted a diverse range of characters across multiple locations—small towns, a famous metropolis, city sidewalks, a rural wooded area, apartment buildings, a pond, a general store, a prison, and more. 

My book highlights how Black short story writers are also cultural cartographers. They crucially orchestrate relatively short narratives about the interplay between characters and settings. 


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