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The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism Paperback – May 1 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (May 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019506075X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195060751
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 15.6 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #439,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The black Africans who survived the dreaded "Middle Passage" from the west coast of Africa to the New World did not sail alone. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Professor Gates' tome on the Signifying Monkey is a thoughtful and fascinating exposition on some of the West African sources of American folklore that are seldom appreciated as a result of the forced expatriations involved in the slave trade. Unfortunately, the book is just slightly dry unless accompanied by a first rate recitation of the Signifying Monkey legend as it is retold in the milieu of the Twentieth Century African American "Toast." I am delighted to report that this can now be experienced by newcomers through the wonderful performance of Rudy Ray Moore, which is available on the CD Greatest Hits. When Dr. Gates' reader is able to reread his Signifying Monkey in light of Mr. Ray Moore's, a whole new world of perception and enjoyment will follow. The synergy of these two works is splendid and neither one is quite so valuable without the other.
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By Ted Ficklen on March 19 1999
Format: Paperback
Gates is a clear thinker and a subtle stylist in the great tradition of other New Yorker writers like EB White and John McPhee. For a book of Lit crit, this has some neat tricks up its sleeve.
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By A Customer on Oct. 2 1998
Format: Paperback
I purchased Gates' "Signifying Monkey" and found myself nodding at almost every paragraph. I was nodding in appreciation of the clarity, nodding in recognition of meaning that I had lost that freshman year but eventually found upon reading "The Signifying Monkey", and nodding because literary theory was being applied to African-American literature. Mimesis and Gates finally came together. The chapter on the trope of the "talking book" is my favorite. Bakhtin (did I spell that correctly?) himself a literary theorist became even more palatable as a result of my reading this text. I'm glad that I own this book. I'm constantly referring to it. It's turned into a "pleasure-reading" book for me. It can for you as well. Thanks Professor Gates
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Groundbreaking Oct. 2 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I purchased Gates' "Signifying Monkey" and found myself nodding at almost every paragraph. I was nodding in appreciation of the clarity, nodding in recognition of meaning that I had lost that freshman year but eventually found upon reading "The Signifying Monkey", and nodding because literary theory was being applied to African-American literature. Mimesis and Gates finally came together. The chapter on the trope of the "talking book" is my favorite. Bakhtin (did I spell that correctly?) himself a literary theorist became even more palatable as a result of my reading this text. I'm glad that I own this book. I'm constantly referring to it. It's turned into a "pleasure-reading" book for me. It can for you as well. Thanks Professor Gates
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A fine book. Dec 5 2012
By Stephen Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fine piece of literary scholarship. It really created a whole way of looking at texts. I use it every year in my Postcolonial Studies class. More examples from popular culture could help.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
scholarly April 22 2009
By RKonklinjr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gates provides patented scholarship to "ethnic" writing that is all too often dismissed as somehow less studied than mainstream literature.
6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An Important Work on the African Roots of American Folklore May 24 2002
By Stephen M. Kerwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Professor Gates' tome on the Signifying Monkey is a thoughtful and fascinating exposition on some of the West African sources of American folklore that are seldom appreciated as a result of the forced expatriations involved in the slave trade. Unfortunately, the book is just slightly dry unless accompanied by a first rate recitation of the Signifying Monkey legend as it is retold in the milieu of the Twentieth Century African American "Toast." I am delighted to report that this can now be experienced by newcomers through the wonderful performance of Rudy Ray Moore, which is available on the CD Greatest Hits. When Dr. Gates' reader is able to reread his Signifying Monkey in light of Mr. Ray Moore's, a whole new world of perception and enjoyment will follow. The synergy of these two works is splendid and neither one is quite so valuable without the other.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
cheap Jan. 2 2013
By giordano angela - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well-kept book, like new! I've searched this book for months in the libraries and online but this was the lowest price I've ever found!

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