Guest Lecture:

April 26th, 4pm

Claude McKay's Amiable with Big Teeth and the Paradoxes of the Archive

Knight Library Browsing Room.

“Claude McKay's Amiable with Big Teeth and the Paradoxes of the Archive.” A joint Lecture by visiting faculty Jean-Christophe Cloutier (University of Pennsylvania) and Brent Hayes Edwards (Columbia University).

This event brings to campus two of the foremost experts in the cultures of black internationalism, American modernism, and the twentieth-century novel to discuss their work in discovering and bringing to print a “lost” novel by the famed Harlem Renaissance author Claude McKay. In a joint lecture, Professors Cloutier and Edwards will discuss the process of editing Claude McKay's 1941 novel Amiable with Big Teeth, which appeared with Penguin in 2017. Although Cloutier discovered the typescript in 2009, it took nearly seven years to bring the book to print. Cloutier and Edwards will recount the extensive research they undertook to authenticate and contextualize the book (which had been previously unknown to McKay scholars), including the new archival finds they have incorporated into their introduction to the just-published paperback edition. They will also address the broader implications of Amiable with Big Teeth for our understanding of the Harlem Renaissance, the left-wing culture of the American 1930s, and modernist literary archives.

Professor Edwards has an international reputation as one of the leading theorists and cultural historians of the twentieth-century black diaspora, with his 2004 work The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Harvard UP, 2003) winning the prestigious American Studies Association John Hope Franklin Book Prize. His more recent work includes Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination (Harvard UP 2017).

Professor Cloutier, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is one of the emerging scholarly stars of twentieth-century American culture, with expertise in French translation (he has translated Jack Kerouac’s French writings for a new Library of America volume, The Unknown Kerouac), African American culture, and comic studies.