Gunning investigates American literary encounters with the conditions, processes, and consequences of white-on-black violence. She shows that the representation of stereotypes, such as the black rapist, were crucial in mediating moments of white social crisis in the late nineteenth century. Gunning brings together writers including Kate Chopin, Mark Twain, Thomas Dixon, and Ida B. Wells who redefined the terms and boundaries of a national dialogue on racial violence from diverse perspectives.

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