From the Briarpatch File by Albert Murray
On Context, Procedure, and American Identity

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In From the Briarpatch File—a gathering of erudite, provocative, and iconoclastic essays, reviews, and interviews—Albert Murray approaches contemporary America through its artistic expressions of itself and through the inventiveness of his own thinking and experience. He writes about New York in the 1920s and about the beginnings of his career as a writer. He gives us profound assessments of the achievements of Duke Ellington and William Faulkner. He outlines the responsibilities of the black educated elite and discusses the near-tragic, near-comic essence of the blues. His subject is no less than the life of America today; the clarity and the singularity of his vision, thought, and language are no less than stunning.

About Albert Murray

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Albert Murray was born in Nokomis, Alabama, in 1916. He was educated at Tuskegee Institute, where he later taught literature and directed the college theater. He is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Seven League Boots, The Blue Devils of Nada, and The Spyglass Tree. He lives in New York City.
Published November 13, 2001 by Pantheon. 208 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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he transformed indigenous American raw material into universal art by seizing the “indispensable dynamics of the vernacular imperative.” In parallel, the author notes that writers such as Faulkner (and one might add Murray himself) conjure a sense of place via idiomatic particulars that can be tu...

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A tireless iconoclast, author of numerous works of cultural critique and a retired college professor, Murray, who prefers the term "Negro" to "black" or "African American," shatters orthodox assumptions about subjects ranging from the Harlem Renaissance to "folk art" ("a product of the…no less au...

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