Neither Black Nor White Yet Both

Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature

Werner Sollors

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    Abstract

    Why can a "white" woman give birth to a "black" baby, while a "black" woman can never give birth to a "white" baby in the United States? What makes racial "passing" so different from social mobility? Why are interracial and incestuous relations often confused or conflated in literature, making "miscegenation" appear as if it were incest? When did the myth that one can tell a person's race by the moon on their fingernails originate? How did blackness get associated with "the curse of Ham," when the Biblical text makes no reference to skin color at all? This book, an exploration of "interracial literature," examines these questions and others. In the past, interracial texts have been read more for a black-white contrast of "either-or" than for an interracial realm of "neither, nor, both, and in-between." Intermarriage prohibitions have been legislated throughout the modern period and were still in the law books in the 1980s. Stories of black-white sexual and family relations have thus run against powerful social taboos. Yet much interracial literature has been written, and this book suggests its pervasiveness and offers new comparative and historical contexts for understanding it. It ranges across time, space, and cultures, analysing scientific and legal works as well as poetry, fiction, and the visual arts, to explore the many themes and motifs interwoven throughout interracial literature. From the etymological origins of the term "race" to the cultural sources of the "Tragic Mulatto," the book examines recurrent images and ideas.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages592
    ISBN (Electronic)9780199855155
    ISBN (Print)019505282X, 9780195052824
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 3 2011

    Fingerprint

    Thematic
    Interracial
    1980s
    Motifs
    Legal Culture
    Social Mobility
    Historical Context
    Family Relations
    Skin Color
    Intermarriage
    Prohibition
    Curse
    Taboo
    Modern Period
    Poetry
    Miscegenation
    Blackness
    Fiction
    Sexual
    Incest

    Keywords

    • Incest
    • Intermarriage prohibitions
    • Interracial literature
    • Miscegenation
    • Passing
    • Race
    • Skin color
    • Social mobility
    • Social taboos
    • Tragic Mulatto

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)

    Cite this

    Neither Black Nor White Yet Both : Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature. / Sollors, Werner.

    Oxford University Press, 2011. 592 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    Sollors, Werner. / Neither Black Nor White Yet Both : Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature. Oxford University Press, 2011. 592 p.
    @book{07604259dcc146c3826ae480fbc00bc8,
    title = "Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature",
    abstract = "Why can a {"}white{"} woman give birth to a {"}black{"} baby, while a {"}black{"} woman can never give birth to a {"}white{"} baby in the United States? What makes racial {"}passing{"} so different from social mobility? Why are interracial and incestuous relations often confused or conflated in literature, making {"}miscegenation{"} appear as if it were incest? When did the myth that one can tell a person's race by the moon on their fingernails originate? How did blackness get associated with {"}the curse of Ham,{"} when the Biblical text makes no reference to skin color at all? This book, an exploration of {"}interracial literature,{"} examines these questions and others. In the past, interracial texts have been read more for a black-white contrast of {"}either-or{"} than for an interracial realm of {"}neither, nor, both, and in-between.{"} Intermarriage prohibitions have been legislated throughout the modern period and were still in the law books in the 1980s. Stories of black-white sexual and family relations have thus run against powerful social taboos. Yet much interracial literature has been written, and this book suggests its pervasiveness and offers new comparative and historical contexts for understanding it. It ranges across time, space, and cultures, analysing scientific and legal works as well as poetry, fiction, and the visual arts, to explore the many themes and motifs interwoven throughout interracial literature. From the etymological origins of the term {"}race{"} to the cultural sources of the {"}Tragic Mulatto,{"} the book examines recurrent images and ideas.",
    keywords = "Incest, Intermarriage prohibitions, Interracial literature, Miscegenation, Passing, Race, Skin color, Social mobility, Social taboos, Tragic Mulatto",
    author = "Werner Sollors",
    year = "2011",
    month = "10",
    day = "3",
    doi = "10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195052824.001.0001",
    language = "English (US)",
    isbn = "019505282X",
    publisher = "Oxford University Press",

    }

    TY - BOOK

    T1 - Neither Black Nor White Yet Both

    T2 - Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature

    AU - Sollors, Werner

    PY - 2011/10/3

    Y1 - 2011/10/3

    N2 - Why can a "white" woman give birth to a "black" baby, while a "black" woman can never give birth to a "white" baby in the United States? What makes racial "passing" so different from social mobility? Why are interracial and incestuous relations often confused or conflated in literature, making "miscegenation" appear as if it were incest? When did the myth that one can tell a person's race by the moon on their fingernails originate? How did blackness get associated with "the curse of Ham," when the Biblical text makes no reference to skin color at all? This book, an exploration of "interracial literature," examines these questions and others. In the past, interracial texts have been read more for a black-white contrast of "either-or" than for an interracial realm of "neither, nor, both, and in-between." Intermarriage prohibitions have been legislated throughout the modern period and were still in the law books in the 1980s. Stories of black-white sexual and family relations have thus run against powerful social taboos. Yet much interracial literature has been written, and this book suggests its pervasiveness and offers new comparative and historical contexts for understanding it. It ranges across time, space, and cultures, analysing scientific and legal works as well as poetry, fiction, and the visual arts, to explore the many themes and motifs interwoven throughout interracial literature. From the etymological origins of the term "race" to the cultural sources of the "Tragic Mulatto," the book examines recurrent images and ideas.

    AB - Why can a "white" woman give birth to a "black" baby, while a "black" woman can never give birth to a "white" baby in the United States? What makes racial "passing" so different from social mobility? Why are interracial and incestuous relations often confused or conflated in literature, making "miscegenation" appear as if it were incest? When did the myth that one can tell a person's race by the moon on their fingernails originate? How did blackness get associated with "the curse of Ham," when the Biblical text makes no reference to skin color at all? This book, an exploration of "interracial literature," examines these questions and others. In the past, interracial texts have been read more for a black-white contrast of "either-or" than for an interracial realm of "neither, nor, both, and in-between." Intermarriage prohibitions have been legislated throughout the modern period and were still in the law books in the 1980s. Stories of black-white sexual and family relations have thus run against powerful social taboos. Yet much interracial literature has been written, and this book suggests its pervasiveness and offers new comparative and historical contexts for understanding it. It ranges across time, space, and cultures, analysing scientific and legal works as well as poetry, fiction, and the visual arts, to explore the many themes and motifs interwoven throughout interracial literature. From the etymological origins of the term "race" to the cultural sources of the "Tragic Mulatto," the book examines recurrent images and ideas.

    KW - Incest

    KW - Intermarriage prohibitions

    KW - Interracial literature

    KW - Miscegenation

    KW - Passing

    KW - Race

    KW - Skin color

    KW - Social mobility

    KW - Social taboos

    KW - Tragic Mulatto

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84939193139&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84939193139&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195052824.001.0001

    DO - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195052824.001.0001

    M3 - Book

    SN - 019505282X

    SN - 9780195052824

    BT - Neither Black Nor White Yet Both

    PB - Oxford University Press

    ER -