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Playing the Races – Ethnic Caricature and American Literary Realism - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Playing the Races: Ethnic Caricature and American Literary Realism

Henry B. Wonham


This book asks why so many of the writers who aligned themselves with the social and aesthetic aims of American literary realism apparently violated their most basic principles in relying on stock conventions of ethnic caricature in their treatment of immigrant and African American figures. As a self-described “tool of the democratic spirit”, designed to “prick the bubbles of abstract types” (William Dean Howells), literary realism would seem to have little in common with the aggressively dehumanizing comic imagery that began to proliferate in American magazines and newspapers after the Civil ... More

Keywords: Alain Locke, literary realism, realist imagery, racism, representation, ethnic literature, stereotype

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780195161946
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161946.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Henry B. Wonham, author
University of Oregon
Author Webpage