Lynching in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Lynching In Literature And Music - Essay

Trudier Harris (essay date 1984)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Harris, Trudier. “Literary Lynchings and Burnings.” In Exorcising Blackness: Historical and Literary Lynching and Burning Rituals, pp. 69-94. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

[In the following excerpt, Harris provides an overview of works addressing the theme of lynching and argues that raising the topic was, for many writers, a consciously political act.]

William Wells Brown depicts a scene in Clotel in which a group of slavers pursues, captures, and later burns a slave to death for being “impudent” to his master. Four thousand slaves are brought in from neighboring plantations to witness the spectacle and to assimilate thoroughly...

(The entire section is 4793 words.)

Bruce E. Baker (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Baker, Bruce E. “North Carolina Lynching Ballads.” In Under Sentence of Death: Lynching in the South, edited by W. Fitzhugh Brundage, pp. 219-45. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

[In the following essay, Baker examines ballads associated with three lynchings in North Carolina and contends that, more than novels and poetry, folk music offers insight into attitudes toward lynching in the communities where they occurred.]

If, as if often claimed, lynchings have had profound effects on the communities in which they happened, those effects should be evident in the cultural productions of those communities. Although scholarship has begun to...

(The entire section is 11570 words.)

Price McMurray (essay date spring 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: McMurray, Price. “Disabling Fictions: Race, History, and Ideology in Crane's ‘The Monster.’” Studies in American Fiction 26, no. 1 (spring 1998): 51-72.

[In the following essay, McMurray argues that Stephen Crane's novella The Monster recalls the 1892 lynching of Robert Lewis in Crane's hometown.]

The critical history of Stephen Crane's story of a black man who becomes a social outcast after his face is destroyed in a laboratory fire is divided unevenly between moralists, theorists, and historians.1 Irony and textual unity are no longer fashionable, but common sense and the bulk of informed opinion continue to find Henry Johnson less...

(The entire section is 9402 words.)