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Chapter 2 explores black literary affiliation structured by disavowal and misrecognition by focusing on a generally overlooked moment of telling and testy encounter between George Lamming and James Baldwin at the 1956 Congress of Negro Artists and Writers in Paris. Discussing what can be considered a missed encounter between Lamming and Baldwin, the chapter establishes a dialogue between the writers’ Congress essays and notes the critical errors and misreadings the writings evince. Through the awkwardness of these essays and the general affective melee within the Congress to which they gesture, this chapter describes a form of diasporic affinity that is intense and intimate precisely because it is agonistic.

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