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This dissertation project, “Museums of the Mind: The Ekphrastic Imagination in the African American Literary Tradition,” at its core is a project of redress and reclamation that seeks to uncover the connection between the non-inclusive spaces of museums, galleries, lyceums, menageries, and exhibition halls in which black artists find themselves working and the creativity with which writers sympathetic to the difficulties encountered by visual artists confront this reality in their ekphrastic work. It explores the relationship between early antebellum moments of cognitive estrangement, wonder, and jubilation when black subjects are confronted with pictorial and other plastic arts in the Americas and the development of a painterly ekphrastic aesthetic in literature, which exists in a loving antagonism with traditional museum culture and emerging media technologies. This dissertation project argues that African American writers revise and extend traditional ekphrasis in order to create spectral art spaces to hang their imagined artworks.
African American literature, Black museum studies , Black spectatorship , Ekphrasis , modernism
Date of Defense
March 24, 2021.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Maxine L. Montgomery, Professor Directing Dissertation; Karen A. Bearor, University Representative; Jerrilyn McGregory, Committee Member; Andrew Epstein, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Williams, C. M. (2021). Museums of the Mind: The Ekphrastic Imagination in the African American Literary Tradition. Retrieved from https://purl.lib.fsu.edu/diginole/2020_Summer_Fall_Williams_fsu_0071E_16427