Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1970

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Dr. Samuel J. Sackett


This study deals with the response of white novelists of the 1920's to the Negro Renaissance and white-promulgated Negro vogue. During the twenties there was a deluge of white-written literature about the Negro. In order to make a valid examination of attitudes expressed in this literature, this study was limited to a selected group of novels-those which focused upon non-mulatto Negroes in contemporary settings. The examination revealed that all twenty-two novels included in this study expressed a belief in the concept of the Negro as primitive. This idea, however, was viewed with varying attitudes, which, in this study, are grouped into four categories I (1) Negro primitivism as a source for fictional anthropological studies; (2) Negro primitivism &s a mental and physical utopia; (3) Negro primitivism in conjunction with protest; (4) Negro primitivism as a source for slapstick ridicule in the minstrel tradition. The books grouped together in each category, although more alike than different, display variances in viewpoint, tone, and writing quality. Most of the novels included in each category have characteristics of More than one division of the paper; however, each novel is discussed in the category that represents its dominant viewpoint. This classification system is not intended to limit the possible interpretations of the novels but rather to make the various views of the primitive Negro easier to understand.


Copyright 1970 Corliss Jacobs


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