QUESTION: Literature

question / pregunta: 

Hi! I want to attempt to read some fiction to better understand the radical ideas that have been expressed in American Literature as well as to hear from some underrepresented voices. I want to be cautious about giving my time to authors that reinforce values of patriarchy, sexism, racism, or republic of America values.

I want to point you to an example of what didn’t work for me. I just finished reading the Adventurous of Tom Sawyer, and I felt Mark Twain might have been too apologetic for my taste and too nostalgic about a time period when slavery existed. I don’t want to waste my time on these kinds of books. I’m looking for books that have a stronger voice, reflection, or opinion when it comes to anti-racism or anti-patriarchy.

Are there any web sites or resources that point out “radical fiction” titles that would be good for me to read? I know there has got to be a syllabus for a class out there or a review publication or web site that would serve as a starting point for me to pick out my books. Thanks in advance for your help!


I feel certain I've seen a bibliography or been involved in a discussion about anarchist fiction on the Anarchist Librarians list (page a little broken), but I'm not finding the bib. Poking around I did find some resources you might like:

Anarchism & Science Fiction: a Reading List

Fiction & Anarchism: Interview with Derrick Jensen

Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read

Volume 46, number 2 of Fifth Estate: an Anti-authoritarian Magazine of Ideas & Action is Anarchist Fiction themed. Find it in print or electronic format at a library near you.

Radical Fiction

I'm taking a stab at this, despite being very green at suggesting fiction :)

One particular book I personally can recommend is "Daughter of Earth" by Agnes Smedley: Smedley talks a lot about what it was like to grow up in poverty right before the turn of the century, as a feminist, and through some major political struggles.

Second, Richard Wright's The Outsider is also an often overlooked piece that explores race and radical politics.

I would also start looking at the work that particular presses publish that you know have a more radical view, for example:
PM Press
AK Press
Feminist Press
South End Press
(you can order from them, or you can use their websites to discover books and then grab a copy from your library!)

Hopefully others will have suggestions as well!

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