"Absolutely essential to the teaching of African American literature . . . Bell is a rare scholar whose knowledge of authors, works, historical movements, social history, folk formations, and subgenres of fiction is strikingly impressive.—Trudier Harris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
""Professor Bell presents us with another groundbreaking study of the 'social' work performed by African American literature. Ranging over subjects including African heritage, masculinity, femininity, and personhood, the arts, and religious and political identities, The Contemporary African American Novel shows us how African American life has always found nuanced expression through African American literary forms. This is a major achievement by a major scholar.""—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University
""Bell's brilliant new work is a history of the novel that demonstrates the intellectual breadth of that tradition. Traversing a terrain that stretches from the vernacular and oral traditions to contemporary mysteries and romances, Bell's explorations take us through Realism and Naturalism to Modernism, the Black Arts Movement, Postmodernism, Structuralism, and Post-Structuralism to Americentric tropes of multicultural identity and community. His readings are insightful and leave much food for thought. . . . Evident throughout is the author's meticulous thoroughness in clear and precise language that makes it a text no serious student of African American fiction can avoid.""—Nellie Y. McKay, University of Wisconsin, Madison
""A masterful performance, tremendously impressive as a work of literary criticism and theory, historical scholarship, and cultural study. . . . It will become, without question, the standard work in the field, a stimulating source of critical insight and a valuable reference tool--one that everyone who writes about or teaches African American literature will need (and will be eager!) to own.""—William E. Cain, Wellesley College
""Bell demands that 'authentic' African American writers be 'realists who have a redemptive, progressive vision of racial politics'(184).""—American Literature
""Bell's study is best when illustrating the importance of vernacular and natonalist traditions in African American fiction.""—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
""...[A] profound and informative work. . . . Bell's writing is textured, to move us down the long and winding road.""—Peter Nazareth, University of Iowa"