• Marisa Parham deposited Hughes, Cullen, and the In-sites of Loss in the group Group logo of TM Literary and Cultural TheoryTM Literary and Cultural Theory on MLA Commons 4 years, 6 months ago

    This essay explores how Pierre Nora’s sites of memory work a specific cultural function through what Melvin Dixon refers to as “a memory that ultimately rewrites history.” I look at two of the most well-known poems of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes’s “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Countee Cullen’s “Heritage,” one of which reveals a vested interest in producing identity by turning to the body as a locus of cultural memory, while the other ostensibly seeks to dismantle what it articulates as a fundamentally nostalgic and politically dangerous structuration of memory. The essay ends with the Harlem Renaissance poet Helene Johnson, who offers an embodied and emboldened approach to thinking about memory in the present.