*Truth Stranger than Fiction: Race, Realism, and the Literary Marketplace

 

Truth Stranger than Fiction: Race, Realism and the U.S. Literary Marketplace (Palgrave 2002), shows the influence that 19th century African-American literature had on twentieth-century American mainstream texts by using the lens of business history to reread literary history. Indeed, understanding the business model—with attention to market interests and fluctuations—has been the cornerstone of my post-graduate work. I explored the role that the marketplace played in the formation of the literary genre we know as realism through a series of non-literary objects ranging from advertisements to photographs and checkbooks.  Henry Louis Gates, Jr. described it as “the first study of its kind.”