Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man (Hardback)
  • Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man (Hardback)
zoom

Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man (Hardback)

(author)
£31.95
Hardback 224 Pages
Published: 12/05/2020
  • We can order this from the publisher

UK delivery within 4-5 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket

Winner of the William Sanders Scarborough Prize

A prizewinning poet argues that Blackness acts as the caesura between human and nonhuman, man and animal.

Throughout US history, Black people have been configured as sociolegal nonpersons, a subgenre of the human. Being Property Once Myself delves into the literary imagination and ethical concerns that have emerged from this experience. Each chapter tracks a specific animal figure—the rat, the cock, the mule, the dog, and the shark—in the works of Black authors such as Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Jesmyn Ward, and Robert Hayden. The plantation, the wilderness, the kitchenette overrun with pests, the simultaneous valuation and sale of animals and enslaved people—all are sites made unforgettable by literature in which we find Black and animal life in fraught proximity.

Joshua Bennett argues that animal figures are deployed in these texts to assert a theory of Black sociality and to combat dominant claims about the limits of personhood. Bennett also turns to the Black radical tradition to challenge the pervasiveness of anti-Blackness in discourses surrounding the environment and animals. Being Property Once Myself is an incisive work of literary criticism and a close reading of undertheorized notions of dehumanization and the Anthropocene.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674980303
Number of pages: 224
Dimensions: 210 x 140 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

This trenchant work of literary criticism examines the complex ways 20th- and 21st-century African American authors have written about animals. In Bennett’s analysis, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Jesmyn Ward, and others subvert the racist comparisons that have ‘been used against them as a tool of derision and denigration.’…An intense and illuminating reevaluation of black literature and Western thought. - Ron Charles, Washington Post

A gripping work…Bennett’s lyrical lilt in his sharp analyses makes for a thorough yet accessible read…Adds to a growing body of critical work that tackles social issues in relation to the realm of ‘nature,’ pushing back simultaneously against the whiteness of both literary studies and ecocriticism. - Lydia Ayame Hiraide, LSE Review of Books

By turns leading-edge and unaffected, revelatory and understated, Bennett appears much less concerned to prove that his chops as a critic and theorist are equal to his poetic abilities…By way of close readings of some well-established, and a few wholly unnoticed, scenes of black/Animal apposition or relationality, Bennett’s Being Property shares in the ensemblic turn toward black ecological criticism and theory exploring blackness, animality, ground-life, and philosophical posthumanism…Bennett stands to add many more fans to the crowd of us who’ve relished his poetic talents over many years. - Maurice Wallace, S-USIH: Society for U.S. Intellectual History

A tremendously illuminating study of how black writers wrestle with black precarity. Bennett’s refreshing and field-defining approach shows how both classic and contemporary African American authors undo long-held assumptions of the animal–human divide. - Salamishah Tillet, author of Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post–Civil Rights Imagination

Bennett writes so beautifully that it hurts. Imagine a world of animals—rats, cocks, mules, and dogs—that prompt renewed ways of seeing, thinking, and living beyond cages or chains. These absorbing, deeply moving pages bring to life a newly reclaimed ethics, and black feeling beyond the claims of property or propriety. - Colin Dayan, author of With Dogs at the Edge of Life and The Law Is a White Dog

Being Property Once Myself is destined to be an event. Exhilarating and original, it is as much a work of literary history as it is of literary theory, as much a poetic invocation as it is critical intervention, and as much about animals as it is about people, elegantly uniting the many singularities that constitute, collectively, black literary culture. - Akira Mizuta Lippit, author of Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife

Bennett makes an important contribution to the fields of Black studies and critical animal studies while offering a uniquely lyrical voice of literary criticism. - Bénédicte Boisseron, American Literary History

You may also be interested in...

The Histories
Added to basket
£10.99
Paperback
The Glass Menagerie
Added to basket
Collected Poems
Added to basket
£18.99
Paperback
On Writing
Added to basket
£10.99
Paperback
The Mabinogion
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
A View from the Bridge
Added to basket
The Mighty Dead
Added to basket
£10.99
Paperback
Metamorphoses
Added to basket
£25.00
Hardback
Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath
Added to basket
The Ode Less Travelled
Added to basket
The Odyssey
Added to basket
£16.99
Paperback
Wide Sargasso Sea
Added to basket
£7.99
Paperback
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Added to basket
Essays
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.

env: aptum
branch: