Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground (Paperback)Kinohi Nishikawa (author)
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Kinohi Nishikawa contends that black pulp fiction was built on white readers' fears of the feminization of society--and the appeal of black masculinity as a way to counter it. In essence, it was the original form of blaxploitation: a strategy of mass-marketing race to suit the reactionary fantasies of a white audience. But while chauvinism and misogyny remained troubling yet constitutive aspects of this literature, from 1973 onward, Holloway House moved away from publishing sleaze for a white audience to publishing solely for black readers. The standard account of this literary phenomenon is based almost entirely on where this literature ended up: in the hands of black, male, working-class readers. When it closed, Holloway House was synonymous with genre fiction written by black authors for black readers--a field of cultural production that Nishikawa terms the black literary underground. But as Street Players demonstrates, this cultural authenticity had to be created, promoted, and in some cases made up, and there is a story of exploitation at the heart of black pulp fiction's origins that cannot be ignored.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 431 g
Dimensions: 226 x 152 x 23 mm
"Nishikawa's delightful new history of black pulp fiction is as entertaining as it is informative. In Street Players, Nishikawa looks at the history of mid-century publisher Holloway House, where editors decided to tap into white audiences' growing tastes for crime and erotic novels featuring black characters and interracial sex, and in the process, unintentionally became the first publishing house to feature black authors writing pulp for black audiences. Nishikawa traces the history of black pulp from its early origins in gentlemen's magazines, to its heady days of hacks churning out paperbacks, to the literary pulp heyday of such voices as Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, and beyond, to the modern era of street lit, urban fiction, and hip hop. Essential reading for anyone interested in mid-century pulp and the evolution of urban fiction!"--CrimeReads
"Nishikawa's intervention in authenticity and street literature studies helps us to understand the complexity of authenticity narratives without essentialism or reductive arguments. It paints a complex picture in the simplicity of its frame: to understand authenticity we must first turn to the structuralist components that allow it to flourish. Likewise, this study helps us understand cultural myths like Iceberg Slim's without dismissing their potency in the marketplace and public sphere. Street Players rightfully places theoretical power in the material that allows readers to both examine authenticity and deconstruct cultural myths without disrespecting the cultural moments that create them. In other words, where Ice Cube falls short Nishikawa's Street Players describes who, exactly, is the mack."--Tyler Bunzey "NewBlackMan (in Exile) "
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