Jean-Christophe Cloutier's book combines close readings of literary texts by African American writers with rigorous attention to the practices and politics of the archive. He identifies a particular “archival sensibility” developed by Black artists at a time (roughly between the end of the Harlem Renaissance and the advent of the Black Arts Movement) when institutional interest in their work was often negligible. In doing so, Cloutier invites the reader to reflect upon how archives continue to shape (and often reshape) the legacies of Black writers today.

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