ENGL 3550 Lecture Notes - Audre Lorde, Chiasmus, Neologism

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Lecture Monday Feb. 4th
History in the America Play
-black bodies and voices bring attention to “the great hole of history” by speaking
from within that position
-black figures appropriating theme park, exhibition space pageant of history
-black appropriation of iconic historical moment
-visibility of Lincoln versus invisibility if African Americans in the anti-
slavery struggle
-up to including Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln
-notions of historical “fact” undermined:
-“so says hearsay” (23)
-tells us something factual then takes that away from us
-footnotes
-to verify political history for us however in this play history is being
destabilized as to what is actual fact
-history not linear, monolithic (structural complications)
-slipperiness of dates (eg. 26)
-past “like an echo in his head” (11)
-memories (11)
-future in Act 1 is past in Act 2 (16, 26-27), connected by sound of violence
-present trying to catch up with past (17, 19)
-stage setting involves space and time literally in complicated combinations
-void in history
-Lucy and Brazil digging in great hole of history for family memories and
heritage
-multiple co-resent locations
-doubling of characters; spatial ci-presence and suspension of historical time
-this piece does not copy reality but creates a parallel universe with the vectors of
race and power skewed
Literary and Linguistic Play
-“the masters tools will never dismantle the master’s house” Audre Lorde (1979)
-language, construction and reconstruction
-“black English” of Lucy and Brazil
-foundling father telling his own story and assembling his act
-for example:
-chiasmus (7), a literary technique, a mirror image (the whole held me etc.)
-mainstream story of a white man helping black ppl being reversed (inversion)
Lecture Wed. Feb. 6th
Literary and Linguistic Play (cont’d)
-homophone (“whole hole” 30, “faux-father” 28, “foe-father” 35
-neologism (“re-memberies” 38)
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Document Summary

Black bodies and voices bring attention to the great hole of history by speaking from within that position. Black figures appropriating theme park, exhibition space pageant of history. Visibility of lincoln versus invisibility if african americans in the anti- slavery struggle. Tells us something factual then takes that away from us. To verify political history for us however in this play history is being destabilized as to what is actual fact. Past like an echo in his head (11) Future in act 1 is past in act 2 (16, 26-27), connected by sound of violence. Present trying to catch up with past (17, 19) Stage setting involves space and time literally in complicated combinations. Lucy and brazil digging in great hole of history for family memories and heritage. Doubling of characters; spatial ci-presence and suspension of historical time. This piece does not copy reality but creates a parallel universe with the vectors of race and power skewed.

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