Pociąg do przyszłości – lekcja historii z Colsonem Whiteheadem.

Agnieszka Gondor-Wiercioch


Train to the Future – History Lesson with Colson Whitehead

In my article I am going to focus on the innovating way in which Colson Whitehead presents African-American history in his novel The Underground Railroad. Similarly to the classical texts exposing erased and buried histories in the U.S. such as written by William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, Whitehead proposes a history lesson for Americans and non-Americans, but instead of producing another historical reconstruction, he uses the technique of multisynchronism combining the past, present and future that constantly interplay in his narrative. The plot that binds all other motives together is that of the Underground Railroad which is simultaneously referring us to the historical organization and a secret vehicle that never stops and thus it is a metaphor for actions undertaken to abolish systemic racism that never ends in the U.S. I would like to argue that apart from the above mentioned literary strategies Whitehead also created timeless language so different from his literary predecessors like Faulkner and Morrison who often relied on modernist history reconstruction and the use of dialects (including AAVE). In my article I will not only  attempt to answer the question if Whitehead’s formal achievements are indeed revolutionary, but I will analyze his way of incorporating  Black history into fiction, trying to compare his diagnosis of the American society to the conclusions of Faulkner’s Light In August and Morrison’s Beloved. I will focus particularly on the combination of postracial prose, speculative realism and afrofuturism.

Słowa kluczowe: Afrofuturism, African-American novel, neoslave narrative, postrace fiction, speculative satire

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