- Hardcover: 312 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199844933
- ISBN-13: 978-0199844937
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics 1st Edition
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"Spirit in the Dark is a richly textured and intellectually sophisticated text that expands on the range and the nature of Black religio-cultural and theological discourse in the US... Sorett deserves all the plaudits he has received for creating such an ambitious and highly intelligent and perceptive piece of work that rewards careful attention and scholarly engagement." -- Anthony G. Reddie (The Methodist Church and University of South Africa)
"Sorett s goal in Spirit in the Dark is to illuminate the entanglements of religion and literature in 20th-century African American history; he makes a strong and persuasive case for the significance of religion to the language that black artists and intellectuals used to talk about race. The book also offers new ways of thinking about the history of secularism by identifying the spirit of Afro-Protestantism embedded in black theories of culture, thereby challenging the notion that American secularism is a uniform phenomenon. The concept of racial aesthetics offers a key term for understanding how African Americans used the arts to ponder the meaning of blackness. In this way Spirit in the Dark does indeed offer a rich set of tools for understanding the power of a work like Moonlight, and should serve as a model for future work attending the long history of the entanglement of religion and art in black life."--Public Books
"Sorett unveils the contours of a literary history that remained preoccupied with religion even as it was typically understood by authors, readers, and critics alike to be modern and, therefore, secular. Spirit in the Dark offers an account of the ways in which religion, especially Afro-Protestantism, remained pivotal to the ideas and aspirations of African American literature across much of the twentieth century."--Reading Religion
"Spirit in the Dark is a finely honed compendium of black American writers and the breadth of their religious influences. That black intellectuals and artists were also sometimes dogmatic religious adherents, eclectic spiritualists, and irrepressible agnostics is not an unknown observation, but what these identifications meant for modern black expressive culture has gone mostly unsaid. Until now. A richly historical study, Spirit in the Dark is a valuable resource indeed." --Maurice Wallace, English and Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia
"An exciting and innovative intervention that deftly melds African American religious and cultural studies." --Barbara D. Savage, author of Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion
"In this magisterial book, Josef Sorett takes us into those black literary spaces that have heretofore been described as secular and reveals how those who reside therein imagine the beautiful in light of the religious. From the Harlem Renaissance to the Black Arts Movement, Sorett pushes the boundaries of our understanding of the workings of the 'spirit' and, in doing so, unsettles our understanding of black religion and literature. This SPIRIT moves in this book. It is a must read!" --Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University
"Even at their most assertively secular, black expressive arts over the last century have riffed on Afro-Protestant church structures that they in turn attenuate, revise, and sustain. In this venturesome book Josef Sorett traces the 'celebratory ambivalence' that animates and infuses African-American cultural production from the Great Migration to the present. Spirit in the Dark is the best single-volume work I know of on the arts and fictions of Afro-Protestant modernity." --Tracy Fessenden, author of Culture and Redemption: Religion, the Secular, and American Literature
About the Author
Josef Sorett is Associate Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Columbia University, where he also directs the Center for African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice.