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Title:Preaching the Lord's Word in a Strange Land: The Influence of The Black Preaching Style on Black American Prose Fiction (Douglass, Toomer, Ellison, Baldwin)
Author(s):Hubbard, Dolan
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, Biblical Studies
Literature, American
Abstract:The Black Church is the point of departure for much of Black American Literature. It was inevitable that the God-talk between an oppressed Black community and an Almighty God would soon be elevated to finely wrought art forms. The Black religious service goes beyond mere ceremony in its resplendent domination of Black cultural iconography. Foremost among the oral expressive forms rooted in the Black church stands the Black folk sermon. This regal house of words epitomizes the emotional sovereignty of the Black linguistic universe.
This study rests upon the premise that the Black sermon, at its best, is a meticulously erected linguistic structure. Though many of the observations in this study will apply to Black American literature in general, the focus will be on the influence of the Black sermon as a source for organizing Black social reality and as an emotionally enriching system of communication. Historically, the Black preacher was the cultural authority who served as a link between a dependent and defensive Black community and a powerful and often hostile White community.
Finally, I will examine how the Black preacher in his sermons brings dormant cultural values to the surface and how certain Black prose fiction writers incorporate sermonic practices and features into their respective literary statements. I feel that by linking this oral expressive literature with the culture, I will be able to demonstrate that the Black sermon functions as a linguistic structure with its own internal laws. Like the preacher, Black prose fiction writers work within the cultural biography and cyclic history of Black America to describe a world which is meaningful to Blacks. The question to be answered is: To what degree do the language and symbols of the sermon influence their artistic vision and literary posture? Writers who will be treated in this study are Frederick Douglass, Jean Toomer, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin.
Issue Date:1986
Description:146 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8623327
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1986

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