Castro-Borrego, Silvia, ed. The Search for Wholeness and Diaspora Literacy in
Contemporary African American Literature. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars
Publishing, 2011. (ISBN 978-1-4438-2837-6; 214 pages)

This volume has as a cohesive argument the exploration of the different manifestations of the
search for wholeness and spirituality in the writings of contemporary African American and
African women writers, covering different literary genres such as fiction (both novels and
short stories), drama and poetry. Together with the issue of spirituality, the African American
search for wholeness is analyzed as a source of creativity and agency. As expressed in the
contemporary literature of black women writers, starting in the 1980s, the search for
wholeness reflects a beauty realized through the healing of the spirit and the body, and is a
process that takes on dimensions of reconciling the past and the present, the mythic and the
real, the spiritual and the physical—all in the context of an emerging world view that
welcomes synthesis and expects both synthesis and generative contradictions.


Johnnella E. Butler
Introduction: From Fragmentation to Wholeness, An Exploration (Silvia Pilar Castro-
PART I : The Healing Narratives of Black Women Writers
Womanism, Sexual Healing and the Suture of Eco-spirituality in Alice Walker’s Novels:
From Meridian to Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart (Isabelle Van-Peteghem Tréard)
Loves the Self … Regardless: Womanist Wholeness in Gayl Jones’s The Healing (Tru
African American Women Writers as Medicine Women (Denise Martin)
Troublesome Tricksters: Memory, objet a, Foreignness, Abjection and Healing in Morrison’s
Beloved and Love (Lily Wang Lei)
PART II: Confronting the Past: Recovery and Revision
Quilting Sculptural Knots: Lucille Clifton’s Revisionary Rewriting (Carme Manuel Cuenca)
A Celebration of Female Ancestors in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day (Inmaculada Pineda
PART III: Wholeness and Spiritual Pilgrimages
Examining the Spirit of Wholeness and Feminism in the Fiction of Toni Cade Bambara
(Thabiti Lewis)
Enacting History, Defining Wholeness: Suzan-Lori Parks’s The America Play
and Topdog/Underdog (Konstantinos Blatanis)
Praisesong for the Widow as Narrative of Restoration: Reading Black Women’s Search for
Spiritual Wholeness (Silvia Castro-Borrego)



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