Contemporary Literature, 1970-present (Research Guide to by Bruccoli Clark Layman

By Bruccoli Clark Layman

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Sapphire (pseudonym of Ramona Lofton, 1950–â•… ) Author of three volumes of poetry and the novel Push (1996), adapted as the film Precious in 2009. Danzy Senna (1970–â•… ) Multiracial author of the novels Caucasia (1998) and Symptomatic (2003) and the memoir Where Did You Sleep Last Night: A Personal History (2009). African American Literatureâ•…â•… 35 Ntozake Shange (1948–â•… ) Playwright, poet, novelist, children’s writer, and feminist whose plays include A Photograph: A Study of Cruelty (1977), Spell #7 (1979), The Love Space Demands (1992), and Hydraulics Phat Like Mean (1998).

Joyce Carol Oates chronicles two specific media events in her youngadult novels Freaky Green Eyes (2003) and My Sister, My Love (2008). The first takes its cue from the 1995 case in which the former football star O. J. Simpson was charged with murdering his former wife and her friend. S. history. The second novel revisits the murder of six-year-old beauty-pageant contestant JonBenét Ramsey and the extensive media coverage it generated. By presenting the perspectives of the victims’ family members, Oates critiques the sensationalized coverage of these crimes.

Later critics use these ideas to explore how markers of identity such as class, race, gender, and sexuality are socially constructed rather than biologically determined. The dominant schools of criticism today have arisen from or responded to poststructuralist concepts; they include deconstruction, reader response, New Historicism, feminism, African American studies, Asian American studies, Native American studies, Latino/Latina studies, postcolonialism, and ecocriticism. Writers are aware of and affected by these shifts; John Barth, for example, integrates commentary on them into his works.

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