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ENGL 3550 Lecture Notes - Audre Lorde, Chiasmus, Neologism

Course Code
ENGL 3550
Scott Schau

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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
-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
-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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