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Harlem Crossroads:
Black Writers and the Photograph in the Twentieth Century
Sara Blair

Book Description | Table of Contents
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"Sara Blair's book is . . . a mighty contribution to photographic and literary studies, and one can only despair in the increasingly difficult task of including images whose flagrant absence in certain chapters can only be due to excessive copyright and publishing cost. The disappointment of the missing illustrations is largely compensated by the satisfaction of the ones that did make it into the volume."--Anne Crémieux, Transatlantica

"We can thank Blair for sketching out a broad future research agenda for historians that will be enhanced by her own lucid analysis of the complicated role played by images in conjunction with literary texts in struggles for black self-representation and Jewish antiracism in mid-twentieth-century New York."--Tamar Carroll, H-Net Reviews

"Harlem Crossroads is an admirably well-organized, thoughtful, and readable book. . . . There is no doubt that it makes a compelling case for the crucial role played by photography and Harlem in the 'self-imagination, cultural politics, and literary work' of African-American writers of the twentieth century."--Clifford Endres, Journal of American Studies of Turkey

"The author is to be commended for the level of sophistication she brings to the debate on representation and 'race'."--Helen Mears, Wasafari

"It would be difficult to overstate Sara Blair's achievement in Harlem Crossroads. . . . [T]he book offers a compelling and original entree into a rich and under examined set of cultural crossings. . . . It will not be an easy model to follow, for it will require critics to develop Blair's exceptional skills as a reader of verbal and visual texts and adjudicator of the competing claims of aesthetics, ideology, and history."--Elizabeth Abel, Modern Philology

"The book contributes worthily to the current tide of work on the interplay between word and image, literary and visual culture in the twentieth century, as well as to the scholarship on black-Jewish relations, and it will surely help spawn further scholarship."--George Hutchinson, American Literary History


"Sara Blair's Harlem Crossroads is an important addition to the body of literature that currently exists about Harlem. It brilliantly illuminates the complex relationship between photographic representation and race, and adds new insight into the ways in which this one black community has figured in both the critical and public imaginations. Harlem Crossroads is a tour de force."--Dawoud Bey, Columbia College Chicago

"Harlem Crossroads examines a set of relations, influences, and cultural styles that, to my knowledge, no one has recognized--let alone sorted through--with such visual and literary finesse. The intellectual range and ambition of the book is remarkable. I read through it thinking that this is what scholarship, at its most far-reaching, aspires to: a remapping of the intellectual territory that it considers, a synthesis of disparate arguments into a single, multivalent narrative that transforms the reader's understanding not only of its subject matter (Harlem and its legacy), but of its approach, the very idea of a 'cultural formation' that belies the disciplinary boundaries we normally adhere to."--Bryan Wolf, Stanford University

"Sara Blair sets out to understand the relationship between literature and photography with the volatile ground of early- to mid-twentieth-century Harlem as her setting. Harlem Crossroads is a major work of criticism and cultural history that will redirect scholarly conversations in a number of fields. It is that rare work that is truly interdisciplinary."--Eric J. Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles

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File created: 4/21/2017

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