Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Literary and Cultural Studies

Committee Chair

Reginald Martin

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson-Furr

Committee Member

Verner Mitchell

Committee Member

Charles Hall


In the African American literary heritage, a counter-discourse as opposed to the dominant culture's racial ideology is often needed to not only adopt the "master's text" but also redress it to accommodate the black American's experience and expression. The intention of this dissertation is to theorize the expressive modes of the gothic and the blues as one potent counter-discourse informing the voice of black resistance in African American literature against the exploitation of the master narrative from the mainstream. My project focuses on the potential inter-textuality of the blues/gothic voice in the literary conventions of the migration narrative, black drama, and detective story in which the gothic and the blues tropes work deeply with the African American social, political, and cultural contexts.In addition to my introduction and conclusion, my dissertation is divided into three chapters, respectively analyzing six texts within the abovementioned genres. In my second chapter, I choose to analyze Paul Laurence Dunbar's The Sport of the Gods and Jean Toomer's Cane which are the first texts written in the sense of the migration narrative imbued with the outlooks of naturalism and lyricism as well as the gothic-blues sensibilities. My next chapter compares two black dramas--Amiri Baraka's Dutchman and August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom--in which the cultual and political stamps of the Black Arts Movement are situated within the blues-making environment along with the horror of racial violence. The last chapter of the body of my dissertation looks at Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Arthur Flowers's Another Good Loving Blues to explore how the two fictions inscribe the gothic-blues intervention in the norm of the detective story which is blended with the journey of renovating the African heritage in the modern time.The purpose of this study mainly aims to discuss how these six texts employ the counter-discourse of the gothic-blues aesthetic to come up with a self-authenticating voice that enables color people to connect individual experiences with the collective "rememory" in order to come to terms with the lingering trauma engendered by the dictate of the color line.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.