Added: October 25, 2000 – Last updated: January 2, 2016


Author: Sandra Gunning

Title: Race, Rape, and Lynching

Subtitle: The Red Record of American Literature, 1890-1912

Place: New York and Oxford

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Year: 1996

Pages: x + 195pp.

Series: Race and American culture

ISBN-10: 0195099907 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century, 20th Century | American History: U.S. History | Offenders: Punishments / Lynching; Representations: Literature / Charles W. Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Thomas Dixon, Jr., Pauline E. Hopkins, Mark Twain; Types: Interracial Rape



* Questia (Restricted Access)

* Google Books (Limited Preview)


Author: Sandra Gunning, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan


  Preface (p. vii)
  Acknowledgements (p. ix)
  Introduction   On Literary Records and Discursive Possibilities (p. 3)
  Chapter One   Re-Membering Blackness After Reconstruction: Race, Rape, and Political Desire in the Work of Thomas Dixon, Jr. (p. 19)
    Thomas Dixon and the Challenge of White Masculine Rescue (p. 29)
    Class, Race, and Sexuality in The Leopard's Spots and The Clansman (p. 35)
    The Problem of Black Women in The Sins of the Father (p. 43)
  Chapter Two   Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, and the Politics of Literary Anti-Racism (p. 48)
    On Black Men with Knives: Mark Twain and Pudd'nhead Wilson (p. 53)
    On Looking Back to the Present: Charles W. Chesnutt and The Marrow of Tradition (p. 62)
  Chapter Three   Black Women and White Terrorism: Ida B. Wells, David Bryant-Fulton, Pauline E. Hopkins, and the Politics of Representation (p. 77)
    Wells and the Politics of Substitution (p. 81)
    Hanover and the Idealization of Black Female Heroism (p. 89)
    Black Community Politics and the Problem of Rape in Contending Forces (p. 96)
  Chapter Four   Rethinking White Female Silences: Kate Chopin's Local Color Fiction and the Politics of White Supremacy (p. 108)
    Kate Chopin as White Southerner (p. 113)
    Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Male Aggression in Chopin's Fiction (p. 116)
    White Women and Metaphors of Black (Fe)Male Sexuality (p. 128)
  Afterword   Cultural Memories and Critical Inventions (p. 136)
  Notes (p. 149)
  Bibliography (p. 177)
    Primary Sources (p. 177)
    Secondary Sources (p. 180)
  Index (p. 190)


»In the late nineteenth century, the stereotype of the black male as sexual beast functioned for white supremacists as an externalized symbol of social chaos against which all whites would unite for the purpose of national renewal. The emergence of this stereotype in American culture and literature during and after Reconstruction was related to the growth of white-on-black violence, as white lynch mobs acted in "defence" of white womanhood, the white family, and white nationalism.
In Rape, Race, and Lynching Sandra Gunning investigates American literary encounters with the conditions, processes, and consequences of such violence through the representation of not just the black rapist stereotype, but of other crucial stereotypes in mediating moments of white social crisis: "lascivious" black womanhood; avenging white masculinity; and passive white femininity. Gunning argues that these figures together signify the tangle of race and gender representation emerging from turn-of-the-century American literature. The book brings together Charles W. Chestnutt, Kate Chopin, Thomas Dixon, David Bryant Fulton, Pauline Hopkins, Mark Twain, and Ida B. Wells: famous, infamous, or long-neglected figures who produced novels, essays, stories, and pamphlets in the volatile period of the 1890s to the early 1900s, and who contributed to the continual renegotiation and redefinition of the terms and boundaries of a national dialogue on racial violence.« (Source: Oxford University Press)


De Santis, Christopher C. American Studies 39(1) (Spring 1998): 154-156.

Holland, Sharon P. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 24(3) (Spring 1999): 817-819. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Stavney, Anne. American Literature: A Journal of Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 70(1) (March 1998): 195-196. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Stephens, Judith L. African American Review 34(2) (Summer 2000): 347-348. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States | Punishment: Lynching / Lynching in the United States | Literature: American literature