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Charles Johnson (1948 -    )

  Charles Johnson's work blends philosophy with smart fiction reminiscent of Melville.  In fact, his Middle Passage (1990) parallels the Moby Dick story/scope very much.  His literature is partly intended to be, as he said, "a fiction of increasing artistic and intellectual growth, one that enables us as a people - as a culture - to move from narrow complaint to broad celebration."



"Interrogating identity: appropriation and transformation in Middle Passage." 1995


Middle Passage order


interview with Charles Johnson



(great authors main page)



List of Works



Middle Passage




Oxherding Tale


Black Men Speaking


Faith and the Good Thing


The Sorcerer's Apprentice


Soulcatcher and Other Stories


Being and Race: Black Writing Since 1970


Black Humor


Half-Past Nation Time


Africans In America


Turning the Wheel: Essays on Buddhism and Writing







(not a complete list)





"I looked at Black-American literature and I didn't see many philosophical writers. I saw three, principally: Wright, Ellison, and Toomer. So there was this void, not only in America in terms of the philosophical novel, but also in Black-American literature. With my background in philosophy, I thought that I could fill that void. So I wrote the first novel."




Rutherford Calhoun in Middle Passage: "If this weird, upside-down caricature of a country called America, if this land of refugees and former indentured servants, religious heretics and half-breeds, whoresons and fugitives...was all I could rightly call home, then aye: I was of it...Do I sound like a patriot? Brother, I put it to you: What Negro, in his heart (if he's not a hypocrite), is not?"








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