Over the weekend I was feeling buoyed by all of the words of encouragement in response to the announcement of my forthcoming book, Spirit in the Dark, which is now available for pre-order online.
I’m even more excited now that the Cover image and Table of Contents are posted on the website of Oxford University Press, along with the blurbs, which are also up on Amazon. The book’s official release date is September 1, 2016, with a ship date of August 1st.
I’m pleased to share the blurbs now, with much appreciation and gratitude to four scholars whose work has influenced my own and for whom I have deep admiration and respect:
“Spirit in the Dark is a finely honed compendium of black American writers and the breadth of their religious influences. That black intellectuals and artists were also sometimes dogmatic religious adherents, eclectic spiritualists, and irrepressible agnostics is not an unknown observation, but what these identifications meant for modern black expressive culture has gone mostly unsaid. Until now. A richly historical study, Spirit in the Dark is a valuable resource indeed.” —Maurice Wallace, English and Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia (and author of Constructing the Black Masculine)
“An exciting and innovative intervention that deftly melds African American religious and cultural studies.” — Barbara D. Savage, author of Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion
“In this magisterial book, Josef Sorett takes us into those black literary spaces that have heretofore been described as secular and reveals how those who reside therein imagine the beautiful in light of the religious. From the Harlem Renaissance to the Black Arts Movement, Sorett pushes the boundaries of our understanding of the workings of the ‘spirit’ and, in doing so, unsettles our understanding of black religion and literature. This SPIRIT moves in this book. It is a must read!” —Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University (author of, most recently, Democracy in Black)
“Even at their most assertively secular, black expressive arts over the last century have riffed on Afro-Protestant church structures that they in turn attenuate, revise, and sustain. In this venturesome book Josef Sorett traces the ‘celebratory ambivalence’ that animates and infuses African-American cultural production from the Great Migration to the present. Spirit in the Dark is the best single-volume work I know of on the arts and fictions of Afro-Protestant modernity.” —Tracy Fessenden, author of Culture and Redemption: Religion, the Secular, and American Literature