Roger Rosenblatt's book Black Fiction, manages to alter the approach taken in many previous studies by making an attempt to apply literary rather than sociopolitical criteria to its subject. Rosenblatt points out that criticism of Black writing has very often served as a pretext for an expounding on Black history. The recent work of Addison Gayle's passes a judgement on the value of Black fiction by clearly political standards, rating each work according to the ideas of Black identity, which it propounds.
Though fiction results from political circumstances, its author react not in ideological ways to those circumstances, and talking about novels and stories primarily as instruments of ideology circumvents much of the fictional enterprise. Affinities and connections are revealed in the works of Black fiction in Rosenblatt's literary analysis; these affinities and connections have been overlooked and ignored by solely political studies.
The writing of acceptable criticism of Black fiction, however, presumes giving satisfactory answers to a quite a few questions. The most important of all, is there a sufficient reason, apart from the racial identity of the authors, for the grouping together of Black authors? Secondly, what is the distinction of Black fiction from other modern fiction with which it is largely contemporaneous? In the work Rosenblatt demonstrates that Black fiction is a distinct body of writing, which has an identifiable, coherent literary tradition. He highlights recurring concerns and designs, which are independent of chronology in Black fiction written over the past eighty years. These concerns and designs are thematic, and they come form the central fact of the predominant white culture, where the Black characters in the novel are situated irrespective of whether they attempt to conform to that culture or they rebel against it.
Rosenblatt's work does leave certain aesthetic questions open. His thematic analysis allows considerable objectivity; he even clearly states that he does not intend to judge the merit of the various works yet his reluctance seems misplaced, especially since an attempt to appraise might have led to interesting results. For example, certain novels have an appearance of structural diffusion. Is this a defeat, or are the authors working out of, or attempting to forge, a different kind of aesthetic? Apart from this, the style of certain Black novels, like Jean Toomer's Cane, verges on expressionism or surrealism; does this technique provide a counterpoint to the prevalent theme that portrays the fate against which Black heroes are pitted, a theme usually conveyed by more naturalistic modes of expressions?
Irrespective of such omissions, what Rosenblatt talks about in his work makes for an astute and worthwhile study. His book very effectively surveys a variety of novels, highlighting certain fascinating and little-known works like James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man. Black Fiction is tightly constructed, and levelheaded and penetrating criticism is exemplified in its forthright and lucid style.
- The author of the passage raises and objection to criticism of Black fiction like that by Addison Gayle as it:
- Highlights only the purely literary aspects of such works
- Misconceive the ideological content of such fiction
- Miscalculate the notions of Black identity presented in such fiction
- Replaces political for literary criteria in evaluating such fiction
- Disregards the reciprocation between Black history and Black identity exhibited in such fiction.
Ans : D
- The primary concern of the author in the above passage is:
- Reviewing the validity of a work of criticism
- Comparing various critical approaches to a subject
- Talking of the limitations of a particular kind of criticism
- Recapitulation of the major points in a work of criticism
- Illustrating the theoretical background of a certain kind of criticism.
Ans : A
- The author is of the opinion that Black Fiction would have been improved had Rosenblatt:
- Undertaken a more careful evaluation of the ideological and historical aspects of Black Fiction
- Been more objective in his approach to novels and stories by Black authors
- Attempted a more detailed exploration of the recurring themes in Black fiction throughout its history
- Established a basis for placing Black fiction within its own unique literary tradition
- Calculated the relative literary merit of the novels he analyzed thematically.
Ans : E
- Rosenblatt's discussion of Black Fiction is :
- Pedantic and contentious
- Critical but admiring
- Ironic and deprecating
- Argumentative but unfocused
- Stilted and insincere.
Ans : B
- According to the given passage the author would be LEAST likely to approve of which among the following?
- Analyzing the influence of political events on the personal ideology of Black writers
- Attempting a critical study, which applies sociopolitical criteria to the autobiographies of Black authors
- A literary study of Black poetry that appraises the merits of poems according to the political acceptability of their themes
- Studying the growth of a distinct Black literary tradition within the context of Black history
- Undertaking a literary study, which attempts to isolate aesthetic qualities unique to Black fiction.
Ans : C
- From the following options, which does the author not make use of while discussing Black Fiction?
- Rhetorical questions
- Specific examples
- Comparison and contrast
- Definition of terms
- Personal opinion.
Ans : D
- The author makes a reference to James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man most probably to:
- Highlight the affinities between Rosenblatt's method of thematic analysis and earlier criticism
- Elucidate regarding the point made regarding expressionistic style earlier in the passage
- Qualify the assessment of Rosenblatt's book made in the first paragraph of the passage
- Demonstrate the affinities among the various Black novels talked of by Rosenblatt's literary analysis
- Present a specific example of one of the accomplishments of Rosenblatt's work.
Ans : E