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Feast of ExcessA Cultural History of the New Sensibility$
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George Cotkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190218478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.001.0001

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“Terribleness”

“Terribleness”

Amiri Baraka 1969

Chapter:
(p.257) { 18 } “Terribleness”
Source:
Feast of Excess
Author(s):

George Cotkin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.003.0020

Amiri Baraka, when he was known as LeRoi Jones, had been a fixture in the Greenwich Village avant-garde. But by the early 1960s his sense of black nationalism could no longer be contained, and in plays such as The Dutchman he depicted the distance between whites and blacks, and unreservedly came to celebrate black violence against white oppression. He remained driven, after being beaten and arrested during the Newark riot, to write plays and poetry, but they were often undermined by his political agenda, which was connected to the Black Power movement. Sometimes he transcended politics for experimentalism, especially in the book In Our Terribleness, which had its racial politics, but also a poetic experimentalism that was winning.

Keywords:   LeRoi Jones, Amiri Baraka, The Dutchman, Black Power, black nationalism, poetry

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