Barbara Christian: The race for literary theory.

Topics: Literary criticism, Literature, African American Pages: 3 (915 words) Published: October 1, 2002
Literary theory or "The Literary Theory" ?

' The Race for Theory' , Barbara Christian

Many Western philosophers have played an important role in setting up the Literary Theory., who throughout history have been in the top of the literary hierarchy. They have considered the distinctions between written literatures and then they came up with the redefinition of literature, which lead them to the changes in literary critical language such as to ' re-invent the meaning of theory' (Christian, 225).

First of all, Barbara states that the first step we should take is to ignore the literary theory, which according to her it has been invented to work for these Western philosophers. The replacement of this theory has left unexposed the black literature, and its only 'advantage' is its determination on being promoted in academic institutions.

Secondly, this theory is not stable. As many critics are not concerned with literature but more with other critics' texts, and in nowadays as the professionals are developed, they are increasingly academics, so there is a replacement of ideas which is a competition theory as the ' race accelerates' (Christian, 226).

Thirdly, Barbara is underlines that Black folk has always been a race of theory. Her concern with the race for theory is related to the academic hegemony and its inaptness to the emerging literatures today. This race for theory, refuses to mention contemporary creative writers and its generalization on culture, becomes an obstacle in discussing many of black literature.

Fourthly, a central point that Barbara is opposing is the hierarchy of literature, which is the outcome of literature, depended in politics. By objecting the race for theory she still does not agree with ' the neutral humanists who see literature as pure expression' (Christian 228) and she does not admit to the control of its production, value, and distribution by those who have power. The Afro-American writers have protested the literary...
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