Supporting your high street Find out how »
Basket Image


Spirit in the Dark : A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics, Hardback Book


Many of the most important black intellectual movements of the second half of the twentieth century were perceived as secular, if not profane.

When religion has figured into scholarly accounts of these moments, it has almost always appeared as tangential or inconsequential.

In Spirit in the Dark, Josef Sorett upends this narrative by exploring the ways in which religion continued to animate and organize African American literary visions throughout the yearsbetween the New Negro Renaissance of the 1920s and the Black Arts movement of the 1960s. Sorett unveils the contours of a literary history that remained preoccupied with religion even as it was typically understood, by authors, readers and critics alike, to be secular.

In doing so, he reveals how religion, especially Christianity, remained pivotal to the very ideas and aspirations of African American literature across much of the twentieth century.

More specifically, Sorett shows that religion and spirituality are key categories for identifying what is (or is not) perceived toconstitute or contribute to a black culture.

By examining figures and movements that have typically been cast as "secular," he offers theoretical insights that blur the boundaries of the "sacred" in scholarship on African American religion and culture.

Ultimately, Spirit in the Dark reveals religion tobe an essential ingredient, albeit one that was always questioned and contested, to the forging of an African American literary tradition.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: from c 1900 -
  • ISBN: 9780199844937


Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops