Cover image for Clarence Major and his art : portraits of an African American postmodernist
Clarence Major and his art : portraits of an African American postmodernist
Bell, Bernard W.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
281 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Introduction : Clarence Major's transgressive voice and double consciousness as an African American postmodernist artist / Bernard W. Bell -- Necessary distance : afterthoughts on becoming a writer / Clarence Major -- "I follow my eyes" : an interview wtih Clarence Major / Larry McCaffery and Jerzy Kutnik -- Reading the painterly text : Clarence Major's "The slave trade" : view from the middle passage / Linda Furgerson Selzer -- To define an ultimate dimness : the poetry of Clarence Major / Nathaniel Mackey -- Clarence Major's innovative fiction / Jerome Klinkowitz -- The double vision of Clarence Major : painter and writer / Lisa C. Roney -- Reflex and bone structure : the Black anti-detective novel / Stephen F. Soitos -- Clarence Major's All-night visitors : calibanic discourse and Black male expression / James W. Coleman -- "I was a weird example of art" : My amputations as cubist confession / Stuart Klawans -- Clarence Major's homecoming voice in Such was the season / Bernard W. Bell -- Against commodification : Zuni culture in Clarence Major's native American texts / Steve Hayward -- Clarence Major's singing voice(s) / Joe Weixlmann.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6537.M337 A4 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Poet, novelist, essayist, editor, anthologist, lexicographer, and painter, Clarence Major is one of the most challenging, prolific, yet underappreciated contemporary African American artists. This collection combines poetry, prose, and art by Major with critical essays by leading scholars that showcase Major's aesthetic movement across literary, cultural, and political boundaries and illuminate the complex relationship between the artist's writing and painting.

Although Major's artistic vision is grounded in the historical experiences of black and Native American peoples, he boldly experiments with crossing boundaries of all types. His use of different narrative voices is evidence of what editor Bernard Bell calls Major's "double consciousness" as an African American artist.

This collection highlights the breadth of Major's work, his transformation into a postmodern artist, and the hybrid voices of his literary and visual productions. By presenting Major's poetry, novels, and paintings alongside critical interpretations of these works, this book makes possible a long-overdue examination of a multitalented artist.

Author Notes

Bernard W. Bell is professor of American and African American literatures in the Department of English at Pennsylvania State University

Table of Contents

Bernard W. BellClarence MajorLarry McCaffery and Jerzy KutnikLinda Furgerson SelzerNathaniel MackeyJerome KlinkowitzLisa C. RoneyStephen F. SoitosJames W. ColemanStuart KlawansBernard W. BellSteve HaywardJoe Weixlmann
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Clarence Major's Transgressive Voice and Double Consciousness as an African American Postmodernist Artistp. 1
"The Slave Trade: View from the Middle Passage"p. 13
"Inscription for the First Baptist Church as It Comes Out on Saturday to Park"p. 27
"The General Sense of Self"p. 28
"Conflict"p. 29
"The Unfaithful Wife: A New Philosophy"p. 30
"Private Line"p. 31
"Motion Picture"p. 32
"Vietnam"p. 33
"Author of an Attitude"p. 34
"Dismal Moment Passing"p. 35
"My Child"p. 36
"The Design"p. 37
"Overbreak"p. 39
Excerpt from Dirty Bird Bluesp. 43
Excerpt from Such Was the Seasonp. 46
Excerpt from My Amputationsp. 50
Excerpt from Reflex and Bone Structurep. 54
Excerpt from All-Night Visitorsp. 57
Literary Self-Portraits
Necessary Distance: Afterthoughts on Becoming a Writerp. 63
"I Follow My Eyes": An Interview with Clarence Majorp. 77
Critical Essays
Reading the Painterly Text: Clarence Major's "The Slave Trade: View from the Middle Passage"p. 101
To Define an Ultimate Dimness: The Poetry of Clarence Majorp. 133
Clarence Major's Innovative Fictionp. 151
The Double Vision of Clarence Major: Painter and Writerp. 161
Reflex and Bone Structure: The Black Anti-Detective Novelp. 175
Clarence Major's All-Night Visitors: Calibanic Discourse and Black Male Expressionp. 189
"I Was a Weird Example of Art": My Amputations as Cubist Confessionp. 207
Clarence Major's Homecoming Voice in Such Was the Seasonp. 219
Against Commodification: Zuni Culture in Clarence Major's Native American Textsp. 227
Clarence Major's Singing Voice(s)p. 243
Selected Bibliography of Clarence Major's Worksp. 265
Contributorsp. 273
Indexp. 275
The Embrace
Self Portrait
Five Figures
Woman with Child
My Room
Five Trees
Night Watchman
Country Boogie
Love at First Sight
View: Hotel Raito
Eight Children
Knitting on the Porch