Proclamations and silences: 'Race', self-fashioning and sexuality in the trans-Atlantic correspondece between Langston Hughes and Richard Rive

Viljoen S. (2007)

Conference Paper

The article draws on research for a larger project - a (literary) biography of writer, essayist and educationist Richard Rive (1930-1989). In this piece, the correspondence between Rive and Langston Hughes, as well as creative, critical and autobiographical works by Rive, provide the sources for an examination of ways in which the Cape-based writer forged a sense of self in the face of acute racial oppression, and how he left unspoken or deeply encoded his sense of his own homosexuality. Gilroy's notion of the creation of meaning through movement across the Atlantic proves useful to a point, but my argument is that Gilroy's double consciousness' is more applicable to black diaspora in the north than it is to a figure like Rive, who proves to befar more multivalent and contradictory in his self-fashioning as a non-racialist, a South African and both a black and cosmopolitan writer.

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