Obama as author

Obama as author
The African American autobiography is a definitive genre. First-person accounts such as Barack Obama’s ‘Dreams from My Father’ in which a narrator abandons or ventures away from his home place on a journey toward physical freedom, racial understanding, or postracial enlightenment have been the source of the characteristic patterns and tropes of African American letters since the fugitive slave narratives.
Writing in The Common Review, Darryl Lorenzo Wellington suggests that the first-person memoirs of escaped slaves fixed in place a narrative structure that helped produce the first and several of the greatest African American novels, as black novelists have adhered to the autobiographical format. Henry Louis Gates observed, “Of the various genres that comprise the African American literary tradition, none has played a role as central as has black autobiography.” The statement comes from the introduction to Bearing Witness, Gates’s anthology of African American autobiographical writings:
Deprived of access to literacy, the tools of citizenship, denied the rights of selfhood by law, philosophy, and pseudo-science, and denied as well the possibility of possessing a collective history as a people, black Americans—commencing with the slave narratives of 1760—published their individual histories in astonishing numbers. … The will to power for black Americans was the will to write; and the predominant mode this writing would assume was the shaping of a black self in words.
Where then does ‘Dreams from My Father’ fit into this structure? It was the first book from a young man—thirty-three years old when he wrote it. Its primary motif is that of a journey: Obama’s maturation to adulthood while journeying from Hawaii to Indonesia to Chicago, and finally, in a sojourn intended to provide connection with the African side of his family, to Kenya.
The quality that most distinguishes Obama’s writing is its clarity. It sparkles like sugar crystals. His writing feels balanced and just. Although not meticulously systematic, it proceeds with the lucidity that characterises a legal mind … As an immature adult, Obama envisioned the father he needed. As a politician, he envisions the world he believes in. His vision, so far, has carried him a long way.
Read the full article in The Common Review …
http://www.thecommonreview.org/spotlight.html

obama_author

The African American autobiography is a definitive genre. First-person accounts such as Barack Obama’s  ‘Dreams from My Father’ in which a narrator abandons or ventures away from his home place on a journey toward physical freedom, racial understanding, or postracial enlightenment have been the source of the characteristic patterns and tropes of African American letters since the fugitive slave narratives.

Writing in The Common Review, Darryl Lorenzo Wellington suggests that the first-person memoirs of escaped slaves fixed in place a narrative structure that helped produce the first and several of the greatest African American novels, as black novelists have adhered to the autobiographical format.

Henry Louis Gates observed, “Of the various genres that comprise the African American literary tradition, none has played a role as central as has black autobiography.” The statement comes from the introduction to Bearing Witness, Gates’s anthology of African American autobiographical writings:

Deprived of access to literacy, the tools of citizenship, denied the rights of selfhood by law, philosophy, and pseudo-science, and denied as well the possibility of possessing a collective history as a people, black Americans—commencing with the slave narratives of 1760—published their individual histories in astonishing numbers. … The will to power for black Americans was the will to write; and the predominant mode this writing would assume was the shaping of a black self in words.

Where then does ‘Dreams from My Father’ fit into this structure? It was the first book from a young man—thirty-three years old when he wrote it. Its primary motif is that of a journey: Obama’s maturation to adulthood while journeying from Hawaii to Indonesia to Chicago, and finally, in a sojourn intended to provide connection with the African side of his family, to Kenya.

The quality that most distinguishes Obama’s writing is its clarity. It sparkles like sugar crystals. His writing feels balanced and just. Although not meticulously systematic, it proceeds with the lucidity that characterises a legal mind … As an immature adult, Obama envisioned the father he needed. As a politician, he envisions the world he believes in. His vision, so far, has carried him a long way.

Read the full article in The Common Review …

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