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‘I ain't never seen a nigger’: the discourse of denial in Lee Smath's The Devil's Dream

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This essay investigates the marginalization of African American musical culture in Appalachian native Lee Smith’s novel The Devil’s Dream (1992). It contrasts the author’s fictional treatment of country-music history with musicological and historical documentation of cross-cultural interaction between black and white folk musicians in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, the essay traces a discourse of denial through which the firstperson narrators of the novel negate black influences while implicitly acknowledging them.

Keywords: Country music history; Denial of black presence; Lee Smith; Southern regionalism; The Devil's Dream

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: English Department, University of Michigan

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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