Charles Johnson's Spiritual Imagination

Charles Johnson's Spiritual Imagination

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In this first book-length study of Charles Johnson's work, Jonathan Little offers an engaging account of the artistic growth of one of the most important contemporary African American writers. From his beginnings as a political cartoonist through his receipt of the National Book Award for Middle Passage, Johnson's imagination has become increasingly spiritual. Little draws upon a wide array of sources, including short stories, interviews, reviews, articles, and cartoons, as he traces the brilliant achievement of this provocative artist who is very much at the height of his career. Charles Johnson's Spiritual Imagination begins with an analysis of Johnson's political cartoons from the late sixties and early seventies, when he was immersed in the Black Power Movement. Little shows that in these early cartoons one can already see Johnson's comic genius and his quest for unconstrained artistic freedom even when dealing with the highly charged issues of racial politics. By examining how Johnson incorporates the influences of phenomenology, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Romanticism into a strikingly original perspective on individual and social identity, Little chronicles Johnson's development. The book illuminates the progression of Johnson's aesthetics as he deals with the at times disturbing contrast between the hope offered by art and spirituality and the harsh realities of African American existence. As he situates Johnson within the tradition of African American literature, Little pairs each of his novels with a major precursor, including novels by Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison, and such far-ranging sources as Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha and the Ten Oxherding Pictures. These comparisons help to show Johnson's innovations within the African American literary tradition and include discussions of naturalism, realism, and modernism. This book will appeal to anyone interested in African American literature, spirituality, aesthetics, and the culture wars.In this state of consciousness carefully attuned to the present moment, the mind is free from thought; it is aiming toward the moment of enlightenment, in which there is a ... Suzuki, Manual of Zen, 134; Lex Hixon, Coming Home, Social Duty 85.


Title:Charles Johnson's Spiritual Imagination
Author: Jonathan Little
Publisher:University of Missouri Press - 1997
ISBN-13:

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