Race: The History of an Idea in America

Publisher Comments:
When Thomas Gossett’s Race: The History of an Idea in America appeared in 1963, it explored the impact of race theory on American letters in a way that anticipated the investigation of race and culture being conducted today. Bold, rigorous, and broad in scope, Gossett’s book quickly established itself as a critical resource to younger scholars seeking a candid, theoretically sophisticated treatment of race in American cultural history.

Here, reprinted without change, is Gossett’s classic study, making available to a new generation of scholars a lucid, accessibly written volume that ranges from colonial race theory and its European antecedents, through eighteenth- and nineteenth- century race pseudoscience, to the racialist dimension of American thought and literature emerging against backgrounds such as Anglo- Saxonism, westward expansion, Social Darwinism, xenophobia, World War I, and modern racial theory.

Featuring a new afterword by the author, an introduction by series editors Shelley Fisher Fishkin and Arnold Rampersad, and a bibliographic essay by Maghan Keita, this indispensable book, whose first edition helped change the way scholars discussed race, will richly reward scholars of American Studies, American Literature, and African-American Studies.

Synopsis:
When Tom Gosset’s Race: The History of an Idea in America appeared more than a generation ago, it explored the impact of race theory on literature in a way that anticipated the entire current scholarly discourse on the subject. Though it has gone out of print, it has never been rendered obsolete. Its reprinting is a boon to younger scholars in particular who are unfamiliar with its rich presentation of fact and its clear, efficient analysis, from which so much later theorizing has developed. With a new afterword by and about the author, and an introduction by series editors Arnold Rampersad and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, this edition should find a wide readership among young scholars and students working in African-American, literary, and cultural studies.

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