Oblique Kinds of Blackness in Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues
This paper addresses the meanings of blackness in Esi Edugyan’s second novel, arguing that the text lends itself up to a multiplicity of readings. On one hand, this is achieved by exploring the historicity and geography of race, insofar as the text dwells on how the totalitarian German state and the Second World War concur to impose shifting and sometimes even antagonistic forms of racialization on all non-Aryans. On the other, it is the result of bringing together characters that, while phenotypically belonging to the same group, are yet altogether dissimilar as to origins, language and upbringing. Consequently, the novel showcases experiences and subjectivities across the spectrum of what Paul Gilroy has named “the Black Atlantic.”
Keywords: Canadian literature; Afro-Europeanness; Black Atlantic; African diaspora; jazz; Esi Edugyan
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