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Release: Immediate

UI Press publishes new book on African American literature

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Literary theorists need to rethink the way they evaluate African American literature based on traditional theories of postmodern fiction, according to a new book from the University of Iowa Press.

"Black Metafiction: Self-Consciousness in African American Literature" by Madelyn Jablon explores the literary tradition of black authors and the use of fictional techniques and ideas by them that have not been widely recognized by scholars of Anglo-American literature.

Broadly defined, "metafiction" is a term used by postmodern literary theorists to describe literature that makes reference to itself as storytelling or to its place in a literary tradition. While some literary critics argue metafiction began with postmodernism, some scholars consider it to be a distinguishing feature of African American literature.

Jablon examines the tradition of such "self-conscious" storytelling in African American literature, from narratives by slaves to work by contemporary authors, such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Walter Mosley.

Comparing work by scholars of comparative, Anglo-American, and African American literature, Jablon revises established theories and provides a model for the evaluation and reformulation of other Eurocentric theories.

"What Jablon has accomplished here is quite notable," says Theodore O. Mason Jr. of Kenyon College. "'Black Metafiction' will be an important book primarily because [Jablon] has managed to combine what have been competing interests in the fields of African American studies and cultural studies."

Madelyn Jablon is an independent scholar living in Philadelphia.

"Black Metafiction: Self-Consciousness in African American Literature" is available at bookstores nationwide for $27.95 clothbound. The book can also be ordered from UI Press by calling (319) 384-3807 (for calls within Johnson County) or 1-800-235-2665 (outside Johnson County).

Information is also available at the UI Press website: