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Finding a Way HomeA Critical Assessment of Walter Mosley's Fiction$
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Owen E. Brady and Derek C. Maus

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781604730883

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604730883.001.0001

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Walter Mosley, Socratic Method, and the Black Atlantic

Walter Mosley, Socratic Method, and the Black Atlantic

(p.30) Walter Mosley, Socratic Method, and the Black Atlantic
Finding a Way Home

Keith Hughes

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter draws on Paul Gilroy’s notion of the “black Atlantic” as a means of examining the cultural hybridity of the Socrates Fortlow series, arguing that Walter Mosley’s “narratives tap into a similar sensibility regarding the centrality of black experience in the whole construction of modernity.” Mosley’s work blends and recontextualizes a wide variety of European, African, and American cultural signifiers in a manner that gives them a new potency. The chapter examines Socrates Fortlow’s allusive first name in terms of the way he both is and is not a modern-day analogue of the Greek philosopher whose name he bears. It argues that “Socratic methodology is adopted and adapted by Mosley and his protagonist so as to be answerable to the specific social and cultural traumas faced by Socrates Fortlow in 1990s Los Angeles.”

Keywords:   African American literature, Paul Gilroy, Socrates Fortlow, black experience, modernity Socratic methodology

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