make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Race, Work, and Desire in American Literature, 1860-1930 by Michele (University of Puget Sound, Washington) Birnbaum


Race, Work, and Desire in American Literature, 1860-1930 by Michele (University of Puget Sound, Washington) Birnbaum

Race, Work and Desire analyses literary representations of work relationships across the colour-line from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Michele Birnbaum examines inter-racial bonds in fiction and literary correspondence by black and white authors and artists - including Elizabeth Keckley, Frances E. W. Harper, W. D. Howells, Grace King, Kate Chopin, Langston Hughes, Amy Spingarn and Carl Van Vechten - exploring the way servants and employers, doctors and patients, and patrons and artists negotiate their racial differences for artistic and political ends. Situating these relationships in literary and cultural context, Birnbaum argues that the literature reveals the complexity of cross-racial relations in the workplace, which, although often represented as an oasis of racial harmony, is in fact the very site where race politics are most fiercely engaged. This study productively complicates current debates about cross-racial collaboration in American literary and race studies, and will be of interest to scholars in both literary and cultural studies.


Review of the hardback: '... a wide-ranging but meticulously argued series of essays that offer highly original and rewarding readings of canonical and less well-known works.


About the Author

Michele Elam (nee Birnbaum) is Martin Luther King, Jr Centennial Professor, Olivier Nomellini Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, Professor of English and Director of Curriculum at Stanford University, California. She is the author of The Souls of Mixed Folk: Race, Politics, and Aesthetics in the New Millennium (2011) and editor of The Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin (forthcoming, 2014). Chair of the Executive Committee for the Black Literatures and Culture Division of the Modern Language Association (2009-13), at Stanford University she has served as Director of the Program in African and African American Studies (2007-10) and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of English (2006-8). Elam is twice the recipient of the St Clair Drake Outstanding Teaching Award at Stanford (2004 and 2006).

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

4th November 2009


Michele (University of Puget Sound, Washington) Birnbaum

More books by Michele (University of Puget Sound, Washington) Birnbaum
Author 'Like for Like'


Cambridge University Press


208 pages


Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
Literary studies: from c 1900 -



I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

My horizons have been broadened by some of the books I have been lucky to review and I expect it to be no different in the future.

Daran Bellingham

For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

I love that Lovereading handpicks very special debut reads.

Magda North

It has opened my eyes to different authors and genres. Just log on and try, you will be surprised and not want for reading material again.

Jocelyn Garvey