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Literature and Culture

Tom 58 (2020)

The Depiction and Ethic of Pride in the Work of Countee Cullen

13 listopada 2020


Countee Cullen’s literary oeuvre emerged in a cultural context wherein Harlemite leaders took pride in an emerging intellectual and literary vanguard. Interestingly, Cullen’s work foregrounds many of the negative aspects of both personal and group pride. Pride for Cullen is typically unnatural, a compensatory excrescence to be shed or managed; this corresponds more closely to a Christian than to a pagan ethos of pride. As regards pride in one’s group identity, although readings of Cullen in terms of gay pride would be anachronistic, he deliberately treats the topic of racial pride—particularly in his novel One Way to Heaven, wherein pride figures a structurally integral leitmotif.


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