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Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation, Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation, 0817316973, 0-8173-1697-3, 978-0-8173-1697-6, 9780817316976, , , Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation, 0817355936, 0-8173-5593-6, 978-0-8173-5593-7, 9780817355937, , , Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation, 081738488X, 0-8173-8488-X, 978-0-8173-8488-3, 9780817384883,

Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation

2010. 264 pp.
5 illustrations
Price:  $44.95 s
Quality Paper
2010. 264 pp.
5 illustrations
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2010. 264 pp.
5 illustrations
Price:  $29.95 d

This collection consists of essays written by prominent African American literature, jazz, and Albert Murray scholars, reminiscences from Murray protégés and associates, and interviews with Murray himself. It illustrates Murray’s place as a central figure in African American arts and letters and as an American cultural pioneer.
Born in Nokomis, Alabama, and raised in Mobile, Albert Murray graduated from Tuskegee University, where he later taught, but he has long resided in New York City. He is the author of many critically acclaimed novels, memoirs, and essay collections, among them The Omni-Americans, South to a Very Old Place, Train Whistle Guitar, The Spyglass Tree, and The Seven League Boots. He is also a critic and visual artist, as well as a lifelong friend of and collaborator with artistic luminaries such as Ralph Ellison, Duke Ellington, and Romare Bearden. As such, his life and work are testaments to the centrality of southern and African American aesthetics in American art. Murray is widely viewed as a figure who, through his art and criticism, transforms the “fakelore” of white culture into a new folklore that illustrates the centrality of the blues and jazz idioms and reveals the black vernacular as what is most distinct about American art.

Barbara A. Baker is Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute and Associate Professor at Auburn University. She is the author of The Blues Aesthetic and the Making of American Identity in the Literature of the South.
Anne-Katrin Gramberg is Professor of German and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University.

"Murray (b. 1916) set standards for consideration of African American centrality to American cultural identity, and Baker (Auburn Univ.) honors him with these 27 essays. The volume includes interpretations and reminiscences--e.g., by insiders John Callahan, Paul Devlin, Lauren Walsh, Roberta McGuire, Caroline Gebhard, Maurice Pogue, Bert Hitchcock, and Jay Lamar--and appreciations by Sidney Offit, Wynton Marsalis, Michael James, Gail Buckley, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. Essays explore Murray's relationship with Ralph Ellison and Romare Bearden; his time at Tuskeegee Institute as student and faculty member; his interest in Thomas Mann and John Dewey; and concepts of 'incontestably mulatto' American culture. Unexpected tidbits emerge: in a 1996 interview with Don Noble, Murray quips, 'I have no particular interest in African culture simply because there is no great literary tradition there'; an interview with his daughter reveals him as a connection between Duke Ellington and Alvin Ailey in 1970. A "tribute as well as a critical examination," this volume will inspire readers to look again at Murray's remarkable offerings, e.g., The Omni-Americans (CH, Oct'70), Train Whistle Guitar (CH, Jul'74), Stomping the Blues (1976), and Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, ed. by Albert Murray and John F. Callahan (2000). Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."

"[This book] makes a very important contribution to the field of African American literary and cultural studies. . . . It present[s] the many facets of Murray’s intellectual odyssey . . . [illuminating his] contribution to our national discussion on race, as well as his germinal insights on music, visual art, and literature."

—Herman Beavers, author of Wrestling Angels into Song: The Fictions of Ernest J. Gaines and James Alan McPherson

"I appreciated the way the voices ‘sound’ in the volume, from Murray’s own voice, through criticism, back to Murray in interviews, and on to other voices. It has the feeling of an ensemble—or, to use one of Mr. Murray’s metaphors, a jazz band, with Murray’s voice ‘taking the break’ at key points. The melody is Murray, and there are countless riffs on his work."
—Carolyn J. Medine, coeditor of Teaching African American Religions

"Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation enlarges our understanding of an artist who is, as the book makes clear, one of the most important writers of our time."--Mobile Press-Register

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