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Retoriche e linguaggi della critica letteraria afroamericana: appunti sulla ‘legacy’ della Signifying Monkey di Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Afro-American literature has suffered a long-lasting exclusion from the theoretical discourse that gave shape to the canon of US literature. The exclusion was ased on the biased conviction that no theoretical approach was necessary to deal with a literary output characterized by its imitative attitude towards the canonical works of Western literature. This article argues that Afro-American literary theorists see imitation as an active creative process that sets Afro-American literature apart from the white Western canon by embodying African-American oral discourse into writing. The article develops a new reading of Gates’s The Signifying Monkey in response to the recently appeared Italian translation, highlighting how Gates’s book argued for the academic relevance of black studies through a close reading of literary texts. Prompted by Gates’s interdisciplinary approach, the author examines other, more recent, manifestations of the rhetorical powers exhibited in Afro-American works, covering cinema and trans-medial occurrences in contemporary black novels.

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Vincenzo Maggitti
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Letteratura americana tradotta in Italia
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