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Language and rhetoric (both discursive and non-discursive) operate within and without American historical fiction often laying bare issues of race – and, in the process, form racial archetypes, inadvertently propagating marginalization of non-white characters. American historical fiction written more recently by African-American writers has attempted to echo and redirect both historical accounts and marginalization of cultural “others” utilizing different rhetorical devices and strategies. This essay explicates rhetorical devices and effects in and William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, (and to a lesser degree) Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, examines their resonance and effect, and then explores the texts of Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo, exposing how they echo, answer and derail the rhetoric of marginalization and rewrite American history in the process.



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