Charles R. Johnson is an American writer, philosopher, academic, and artist whose award-winning work ranges from African-American philosophical fiction to nonfiction in the areas of literature, writing, African American studies, philosophy, and Eastern spiritual traditions, particularly Buddhism.
Twelve stories about the African experience of slavery in America, by the National Book Award-winning novelist. Nothing has had as profound an effect on American life as slavery. For blacks and whites alike, the experience has left us with a conflicted and contradictory history.
The companion volume to a public television series, this extraordinary examination of slavery in America features a four-part history by poet and performance artist Patricia Smith and a dozen fictional narratives by National Book Award–winning novelist Charles Johnson.
This wide and varied collection of essays, reviews, and short stories offers incisive views on politics, race, and Buddhism. Johnson notes that in his life the two activities that have anchored him and reinforce each other are creative production and spiritual practice.
In his essay "Storytelling and the Alpha Narrative," Johnson writes, "All technique, craft, and literary theory we accumulate as writers must be in the service of that most deceptively simple and yet most difficult of achievements - delivering undamaged a whopping good, imaginative, and original...
Charles Johnson approaches contemporary black literature through the lens of phenomenology, drawing on philosophers such as Heidegger, Husserl, Satre, and Dufrenne to address the aesthetic and epistemological questions surrounding the black experience as expressed by Black American authors.