Race and American Fiction

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch68

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Race and American Fiction, in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch68

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • race and American fiction;
  • African slaves, transported to Portuguese and Spanish colonies in the New World - in the sixteenth century, and organized enslavement of Africans in English settlements;
  • slavery, legalized in Massachusetts - in 1641 and 20 years later in Virginia;
  • importation of slaves into United States - banned by Congress in 1807, but trade continuing illegally until 1859;
  • The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution - outlawing slavery in the United States, passed by Congress in January 1865;
  • The Civil Rights movement, in 1950s - with the work of Martin Luther King and others;
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin, famous of these - appearing in 1852;
  • The raft scenes in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) - fragile, threatened world, a black man and a white adolescent adventuring together on equal terms;
  • twentieth-century writing, by white writers - William Faulkner's novels, powerful, sympathetic treatment of black conditions in post-Civil War South;
  • important legacy of the decade - African American art, no longer seen as depicting rural life, associated with urban forms of expression