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The Ethiopian Prophecy in Black American Letters$
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Roy Kay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037325

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037325.001.0001

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Introduction: The Inch and Ells of Psalm 68:31

Introduction: The Inch and Ells of Psalm 68:31

(p.1) Introduction: The Inch and Ells of Psalm 68:31
The Ethiopian Prophecy in Black American Letters

Roy Kay

University Press of Florida

This chapter provides the methodological framework for the book. It argues that reading, particularly figural reading as articulated by Benjamin in the Passagen-Werk, is a material practice which situates the reader in the world as a historical subject, deictically anchored in time and space, who links and ripostes phrases. Hence, instead of the reader being a subject before reading, he or she emerges as a subject in reading. The material nature of writing, reading, and subjectivity are explained historically through the Greek words grámmata, lógos, and kléos, and through the figure of pederasty. The story of Frederick Douglass learning how to read frames the chapter and provides an articulation of material reading and historical subjectivity. Douglass's story is an analogy of the material reading practices that will be mapped in this book.

Keywords:   articulation, Benjamin, deixis, Douglass, figural reading, materiality, pederasty, phrase, reading, riposte

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