Chapter 18. Race and Literary Politics

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Frances Smith Foster1 and
  2. Cassandra Jackson Associate Professor2

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch18

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Smith Foster, F. and Jackson, C. (2010) Race and Literary Politics, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch18

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Emory University, USA

  2. 2

    College of New Jersey, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • race and literary politics;
  • myth of race, persistent factor in shaping American culture;
  • Thomas Jefferson, whose racial theories in Notes on the State of Virginia symbolizing those of American liberal intellectuals;
  • Darwin's theory, a common origin to all humans and refuted polygenism - not assuming that all human races were equal;
  • subject of race and literary politics in the United States - vast and complicated;
  • James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (1826);
  • Ann Plato in “The Natives of America” - their “Indian fathers” and a peaceful time when “We all were then as in one band”;
  • many African-American writers - emphasizing that “black” was not synonymous with “slave,” “ignorant,” or “poor”;
  • Stowe's representation of mixed-race - William Wells Brown's portrayal in Clotel; or The President's Daughter (1853);
  • Hopkins's supposed lack of representativeness in the face of New Negro ideology - excluding her from the masthead of The Colored American


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • References and Further Reading