Hope Draped in Black: Race, Melancholy, and the Agony of Progress
Unhopeful but Not Hopeless: Melancholic Interpretations of Progress and Freedom
This chapter continues to examine how sorrow operates in Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk. In addition to the author’s homage to the spirituals in the final chapter, sorrow works in the text as a trope, attitude, and mode of attunement. Melancholy in Souls becomes a way to question, trouble, and render ambiguous cherished values like freedom, agency, and liberation. By offering a close reading of several chapters in the text this chapter shows how death, loss, and trauma haunt and unsettle political categories and ideals typically associated with black strivings and progress. The chapter provides a reading...