PL EN


2016 | 64 | 11: Anglica | 149-158
Article title

The phantom in American Arcadia: Rethinking race in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain

Title variants
PL
Rozważania na temat rasy w powieści Philipa Rotha Ludzka skaza
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
The article explores the problem of race and racial ambiguity in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (2000). Referring to Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination and her assumptions concerning “the Africanist presence,” the paper discusses how the character’s repressed African-American past returns to haunt not only the protagonist but also the reader. As biracial Coleman Silk succeeds in passing for a Jew, his body becomes a signifier whose signified turns out to be problematic. While Roth’s narrative argues that the ideal of a self-made man that the protagonist represents is always already haunted by the ghost of racial uncertainty, it also demonstrates that the issue of race functions in contemporary writing primarily as a metaphor, or “a way of referring to and disguising forces, events, classes, and expressions of social decay and economic division far more threatening to the body politic than biological ‘race’ ever was.” Finally, the paper explores the way in which Roth’s novel addresses the long familiar fear that racial boundaries do not exist and the coherent white American self is an illusion.
PL
Tematem artykułu jest problem przynależności rasowej i związanych z nią niejednoznaczności w powieści Philipa Rotha pt. Ludzka skaza. Bohaterem książki jest czarnoskóry Coleman Silk, którego jasna karnacja pozwala mu na podawanie się za białego człowieka. Odwołując się do książki Toni Morrison pt. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, autorka pokazuje w jaki sposób wyparta przez bohatera przynależność rasowa powraca jako trudne do udźwignięcia brzemię, oraz w jaki sposób problem rasy staje się metaforą społecznych i ekonomicznych podziałów w Stanach Zjednoczonych. Artykuł dowodzi także, że jednym z głównych tematów powieści Rotha jest niepokój związany z faktem, że granice rasowe w istocie nie istnieją, a hegemonia białego człowieka zawsze oparta była na iluzji.
Year
Volume
64
Issue
Pages
149-158
Physical description
Contributors
  • Department of American Literature and Culture, Institute of English Studies, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, patbar@kul.pl
References
  • DeLamotte, Eugenia. “White Terror, Black Dreams: Gothic Constructions of Race in the Nineteenth Century.” The Gothic Other: Racial and Social Constructions in the Literary Imagination. Ed. Ruth Bienstock Anolik and Douglas L. Howard. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers, 2004. 17-31. Print.
  • Edwards, Justin D. Gothic Passages—Racial Ambiguity and the American Gothic. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2003. Print.
  • Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. 1952. New York: The Modern Library, 1994. Print.
  • Fiedler, Leslie A. Love and Death in the American Novel. 1966. Dalkey Archive Press, 2008. Print.
  • Goddu, Teresa. “American Gothic.” The Routledge Companion to Gothic. Eds. Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy. London and New York: Routledge, 2007. 63-72. Print.
  • Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror. An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. Print.
  • Morrison, Toni. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. London: Picador, 1993. Print.
  • Parrish, Timothy. Ralph Ellison and the Genius of America. Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012. Print.
  • Rose, Stephany. Abolishing White Masculinity from Mark Twain to Hiphop: Crises in Whiteness. Maryland: Lexington Books, 2014. Print.
  • Roth, Philip. The Human Stain. London: Vintage, 2001. Print.
  • Sollors, Werner. Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-ef4a8127-bd81-47c3-9b92-aa798de1267b
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