Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8kt4b Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-21T15:21:32.459Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 18 - W. E. B. Du Bois’s Apocalyptic Ambivalence

from Part III - Varieties of Apocalyptic Experience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2020

John Hay
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Get access

Summary

This chapter recovers W. E. B. Du Bois’s unpublished novel “Scorn” (1905) to argue that it announces the political and temporal posture that structures much of Du Bois’s work: apocalyptic ambivalence. Apocalyptic ambivalence registers a skeptical attitude toward history’s celebration of grand gestures and dramatic transformations and instead trains its attention on the quotidian and mundane practices that might reconstruct social arrangements and reveal an otherwise unimaginable world. In this regard, apocalyptic ambivalence is a political position and registers a temporal logic and narrative approach that Du Bois would mobilize time and time again over the course of his expansive and multimedial oeuvre. Suggesting that Du Bois often made recourse to apocalyptic tropes and rhetoric – most notably in Black Reconstruction (1935) – this chapter locates “Scorn” as a text whose formal and generic contours stage a series of thwarted and deferred apocalyptic events only to offer the fulfillment of the apocalyptic promise in the world of interracial labor and an all-black education settlement. In so doing, “Scorn” shifts the idea of apocalypse away from world-ending devastation and toward the conditions of everyday life.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×