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F.B. eyes : how J. Edgar Hoover's ghostreaders framed African American literature

William J. Maxwell (College teacher),

Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press 2015

Available at GSU Library Decatur  Decatur Book  (PS153.N5 M2688 2015 )()

  • Title:
    F.B. eyes : how J. Edgar Hoover's ghostreaders framed African American literature
  • Author: William J. Maxwell (College teacher),
  • Subjects: United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation -- History -- 20th century; United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation; American literature -- African American authors -- History and criticism; American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism; Literature and state -- United States -- History -- 20th century; American literature; American literature -- African American authors; Literature and state; United States; 1900-1999; Criticism, interpretation, etc; History
  • Contents: Part one/thesis one : The birth of the Bureau, coupled with the birth of J. Edgar Hoover, ensured the FBI's attention to African American literature -- Part two/thesis two : The FBI's aggressive filing and long study of African American writers was tightly bound to the Agency's successful evolution under Hoover -- Part three/thesis three : The FBI is perhaps the most dedicated and influential forgotten critic of African American literature -- Part four/thesis four : The FBI helped to define the twentieth-century Black Atlantic, both blocking and forcing its flows -- Part five/thesis five : Consciousness of FBI ghostreading fills a deep and characteristic vein of African American literature -- Appendix : FOIA requests for FBI files on African American authors active from 1919 to 1972.
    "Few institutions seem more opposed than African American literature and J. Edgar Hoover's white-bread Federal Bureau of Investigation. But behind the scenes the FBI's hostility to black protest was energized by fear of and respect for black writing. Drawing on nearly 14,000 pages of newly released FBI files, F.B. Eyes exposes the Bureau's intimate policing of five decades of African American poems, plays, essays, and novels. Starting in 1919, year one of Harlem's renaissance and Hoover's career at the Bureau, secretive FBI "ghostreaders" monitored the latest developments in African American letters. By the time of Hoover's death in 1972, these ghostreaders knew enough to simulate a sinister black literature of their own. The official aim behind the Bureau's close reading was to anticipate political unrest. Yet, as William J. Maxwell reveals, FBI surveillance came to influence the creation and public reception of African American literature in the heart of the twentieth century. Taking his title from Richard Wright's poem "The FB Eye Blues," Maxwell details how the FBI threatened the international travels of African American writers and prepared to jail dozens of them in times of national emergency. All the same, he shows that the Bureau's paranoid style could prompt insightful criticism from Hoover's ghostreaders and creative replies from their literary targets. For authors such as Claude McKay, James Baldwin, and Sonia Sanchez, the suspicion that government spy-critics tracked their every word inspired rewarding stylistic experiments as well as disabling self-censorship. Illuminating both the serious harms of state surveillance and the ways in which imaginative writing can withstand and exploit it, F.B. Eyes is a groundbreaking account of a long-hidden dimension of African American literature"--Publisher information.
  • Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press
  • Creation Date: 2015
  • Physical Description: xiv, 367 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
  • Language: English
  • Identifier: ISBN9780691130200;ISBN0691130205;ISBN9780691173412;ISBN0691173419
  • Source: 01GALI USG ALMA
  • OCLC Number: 899031064
  • NZ MMS ID: 9910234852002931
  • IZ MMS ID: 9930925293402952

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