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Revising the Blueprint - Ann Petry and the Literary Left

Revising the Blueprint

Ann Petry and the Literary Left

Edited by Alex Lubin
Paperback : 9781617030390, 179 pages, March 2011

A reassessment of the African American novelist and her position in the canon in the years following World War II


With contributions by John Charles, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Bill V. Mullen, Rachel Peterson, Paula Rabinowitz, Rachel Rubin, James Smethurst, Melina Vizcaíno-Alemán

The essayists in Revising the Blueprint: Ann Petry and the Literary Left examine Ann Petry's relationship to left-wing political circles in the years following World War II. Anthologies dedicated to African American writing, even those that consider the African American literary left, often exclude Petry (1908–1997). These essayists demonstrate how Petry's literary art, as well as her engagement in various community struggles, landed her squarely in a variety of progressive communities.

Through analyses of Petry's three novels, her short fiction, and her nonfiction, scholars identify her literary forms and aesthetics, including pulp fiction, Marxist analysis, literary naturalism, and the realism Petry used to explore early Cold War racial, sexual, and class politics. Although Petry is not readily placed in leftist circles, the essays collected here show her engagement in a number of events centered in post-WWII Harlem, such as the Bronx Slave Market protest concerning treatment of African American female domestic workers and her role as contributor to Harlem's radical periodical, the People's Voice. Essays show that Petry's writing provides an important link between the Popular Front of the 1930s and the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s.