Reading Race: White American Poets and the Racial Discourse in the Twentieth Century

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1990-09-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Georgia Pr

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $22.95 Save up to $3.44
  • Rent Book $19.51
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Rental copy of this book is not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Reading Raceexamines the work of twentieth-century white American poets from Carl Sandburg to Adrienne Rich, from Ezra Pound to Allen Ginsberg, revealing within their poetry and casual writings a body of literature that transmits racism, even as it sometimes speaks against it.Tracing the persistence of racial discourse, Aldon Nielsen argues that white Americans, throughout their history, have used a language of their own primacy, a language that treats blacks as an abstract other--an aggregate nonwhite--to be acted upon and determined by whites. White discourse drapes over blacks an intricate veil of images and understandings--assertions of inferiority; metaphors of exoticism; similes of animals; tropes of fertility, nothingness, and death--through which whites read race and beneath which blacks remain imprisoned."Words," Nielsen writes, "create and maintain relationships of power as surely as do prisons and arms." Speaking of the discourse of race in America, Nielsen identifies "dead metaphors"--words, images, ideas--that operate in much the same way as the "charged detail" of Pound or the "objective correlative" of T.S. Eliot. Embedded in the language, they are instantly recognizable to the native speaker. Poets, when they draw upon these metaphors, demand racist thinking in order to be understood.

Author Biography

Aldon Lynn Nielsen is an associate professor of English at San Jose State University and the author of two books of poetry, Heat Strings and Evacuation Routes.

Rewards Program

Write a Review