By Daniel G. Williams
Longlisted for the Wales publication of the 12 months 2007
Writing in 1903, W. E. B. Du Bois prompt that the objective for the African-American used to be 'to be a co-worker within the state of culture'.
He used to be evoking 'culture' as an answer to the divisions inside society, thereby adopting, in a really diversified context, an concept that were influentially expressed by way of Matthew Arnold within the 1860s. Du Bois wondered the assumed universality of this idea by way of asking who, eventually, is authorized into the 'kingdom of culture'? How does one come to talk from a place of cultural authority?
This booklet adopts a transatlantic method of discover those questions. It centres on 4 Victorian 'men of letters' - Matthew Arnold, William Dean Howells, W. B. Yeats and W. E. B. Du Bois--who drew on notions of ethnicity as a foundation from which to claim their cultural authority. In comparative shut readings of those figures Daniel Williams addresses numerous key components of up to date literary and cultural debate. The publication questions the idea of 'the West' because it seems and re-appears within the formulations of postcolonial conception, demanding situations the frequent tendency to divide nationalism into 'civic' and 'ethnic' types, and forces its readers to think again what they suggest after they discuss 'culture', 'identity' and 'national literature'.
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