The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature

Edited by William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris

Biographies of authors, critics, literary characters, and historical figures, and plot summaries of major works.

This concise Companion provides invaluable insight into the growing body of African American literature and criticism. It offers an enormous range of writers—from Sojourner Truth to Frederick Douglass, from Zora Neale Hurston to Ralph Ellison, and from Toni Morrison to August Wilson. It contains entries (with synopses) on major works, such as Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Richard Wright's Native Son, and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. It also incorporates information on literary characters such as Bigger Thomas, Coffin Ed Johnson, Kunta Kinte, Sula Peace, as well as on character types such as Aunt Jemima, Brer Rabbit, John Henry, Stackolee, and the trickster. Here, too, are general articles on poetry, fiction, and drama; on autobiography, slave narratives, Sunday School literature, and oratory; as well as on a wide spectrum of related topics. This volume explores works from a vast array of sources—from the black periodical press to women's clubs—making it one of the most substantial guides available on African American literature.

William L. Andrews is the E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Frances Smith Foster is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies at Emory University. Trudier Harris is the J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.