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 African American Literature Book Club

Celebrating Our Literary Legacy Since 1998 — Black Literature is for Everyone





Dr. Graham’s Subliminal Racism is not bedtime reading. Seemingly, well-established Black literary figures are dismissed as fictions created by covert racist ideologues; a popular Steven Spielberg movie is called racist; Nat Turner is deemed to be a propaganda package; and so on. Controversial! Startling! And the prevailing Caucasian-American psyche is identified as racist and in the service of white supremacy.   [Source: Dr. Joyce Nower, “Where Racism and Myth-making Intersect: Subliminal Racism,” a review of SRE.]





Things (and people) are often not what they seem, and your articles illustrate this truth very well, albeit painfully. Our experience is, of course, quite different, so we are thankful for the insights we have gained from your invaluable work. [Joyce & Leon Nower La  Mesa, CA                     






Introduction:   This work is based upon a systematic approach which goes beyond a cursory treatment of the Negro as “body servant,” “stereotype” or “flat character” in American fiction. It offers a detailed investigation of those complexes of ideas that influenced American literary tradition and its images of the Negro. Through its theoretical construct, it presents a mechanism for understanding the psychological of maligning the images of dark humanity.

Furthermore, it describes, in a socio-religious context, the ideological intent behind portrayals of the Negro as an avatar of evil and death. It also demonstrates the complex workings of an ascend-descend framing device and a triadic color structure, to account for the recurring and contrasting linguistic elements that are symbolic of these negative images. In addition, it examines some key historic events and issues of the 1830s, and sets the framework within which to evaluate the allegorical symbolism of ideological leitmotifs.

... The Manichean Leitmotif analyzes in well documented detail the work of English and American theologians and aestheticians, such as Cotton Mather, Edmund Burke, Samuel Gilman, Orville Dewey, Hugh Swinton Legaré, and others, as well as writers such as Dante and Milton, to show how light and dark, human and sub-human, good and evil, etc., came to be mixed up with Moors, Ethiopians, and the slave trade. Piece by piece Graham constructs a zeitgeist, which, although one may disagree with certain particulars, cannot, on the whole, be dismissed.

Honors & Distinctions:

The book made a significant and aesthetic contribution to the online entry description and definition of the term “leitmotif” in Wikipedia, wherein The Manichean Leitmotif gained the distinction:

Recommended Book Number 1 More: http://www.news-server.org/l/le/leitmotif.htmlhttp://www.freeglossary.com/Leitmotif

                        The book’s original research on Samuel Gilman was recently incorporated into his biography in Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography; Graham ascribed authorship of two articles, “Theory of Association in Matters of Taste” and “American Literature,” to Gilman, appearing in the Southern Review (August 1831). See “The Doctrine of Contrasted Extremes,” in Arthur J .Graham, The Manichean Leitmotif (2000). More: http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/samuelgilman.html

“What Graham shows in his text, a dissertation, is that racism in fiction does not just occur in the default by which whiteness is held as central, universal and blank or without the history that characterizes it to those offended by white history. He shows a deeper kind of vilification in the way scenes are depicted. Douglas Curt Lyons (More: See message 173921) Source: “Speculations: For Writers Who Want To Be Read"


$199.90 [Rare 1st Edition. Limited – 50 copies.]



“Huge!” … Joseph Vinson, Board - BSLF

This book presents a unique, tetranalysis™ documentary of collected “works and studies.” It is an aesthetic, ideological, religious, and marketing exposé of the origins and continuity of a certain Myth in Code: Negro Cipher Phillis Wheatley. It is an examination, evaluation, and exclusive critique of early textual “specimens” and of recent tangential, mass-media “excerpts” that may or may not contain subliminal messages. Overall, my purpose is to identify and to explicate this myth in code, cipher Wheatley, as it is consciously and unconsciously structured and formed, synchronically and diachronically, by way of Samuel Gilman’s Manichean doctrine of contrasted extremes. As a narrative force, this doctrine tends to convey and to induce racial divide differences overtly throughout the popular culture as well as covertly within the individual’s “subliminal” or “autotelic” mind-set. With this first of a kind study, Arthur Graham’s tetranalysis™ posits a paradigm shift for decoding hidden Puritan and America Culture messages by way of the “little book,” “Thoughts on the Works of Providence,” and by way of unraveling the significations of the “holy four” aesthetic elements (form, motion, sound and color) that underlay the controversial “craft” and “authenticity” of cipher Phillis Wheatley.


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