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Reaping Something NewAfrican American Transformations of Victorian Literature$
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Daniel Hack

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196930

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196930.001.0001

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(Re-)Racializing “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

(Re-)Racializing “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

(p.45) Chapter Two (Re-)Racializing “The Charge of the Light Brigade”
Reaping Something New

Daniel Hack

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the African Americanization of “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It argues that what makes “The Light Brigade” an inspired choice for this kind of task is its history and historicity. There exists a history of placing Tennyson's poem in relation to African American culture, and this history is one in which this relationship has been variously construed and vigorously contested. As the chapter shows, from the moment it was published, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” was mobilized, especially though not exclusively by African Americans, as a site or tool to address certain issues. These include: the relationship of African Americans to the dominant cultural tradition; the nature and politics of interracial cultural rivalry, mimicry, and appropriation; and the role of poetry and the arts—and violence—in the fight for racial empowerment and equality.

Keywords:   Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade, poetry, cultural tradition, cultural rivalry, mimicry, appropriation, racial empowerment, racial equality, African Americanization, American culture

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