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Etre et écrire (de) Los Angeles : Wanda Coleman

Abstract : This study aims at shedding some new light upon the many correlations existing between the Los Angeles cityspace and Wanda Coleman’s writings. As an African American woman born in Watts, Los Angeles in 1946, Coleman is the author of a significant literary oeuvre. Whether regarding the urban evolution and construction of the city, its ethnic composition, its socioeconomic conditions or its cultural development, the megalopolis can be read explicitly and implicitly throughout the author’s work, which started in 1979 and ended with the posthumous co-publication of The Love Project in 2014.Post World War II Los Angeles and the great mutations that the territory has been undergoing are, for Coleman, an unending source of material that are both motivating her writing and influencing her craft. The privileged witness of a city under the firm grasp of postmodern ideology of which Los Angeles seems to be the epicenter, Coleman’s work shows the ever-growing gap between an everyday life that is getting more and more brutal and an idealized imagery of the city that imposes itself as the American Way of Life par excellence. That unreachable goal for a disadvantaged and disenfranchised portion of society (about to become the majority of the Los Angeles population), is projected in a perpetual renewal of the American Dream, maintained within reaching distance, as an obscene strategy serving social appeasement. Wanda Coleman thus intends to unsettle an illusion that has been perpetrated and widely distributed through and by Hollywood whose influences, in a mass-media transmission era, cannot be under-estimated. Because she has been able to consider and apprehend the overall dehumanizing process for as long as she can remember, that Coleman is able to assess the import of her art and thus sets its objectives: to rehumanize the dehumanized.
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Charles Joseph. Etre et écrire (de) Los Angeles : Wanda Coleman. Littératures. Université du Maine, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014LEMA3004⟩. ⟨tel-01215656⟩

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