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Preface
1. On the application of Bakhtin’s theory to reading African American literature,
see also Henderson, “Speaking in Tongues”; Gates, The Signifying Monkey; Peter-
son, Up from Bondage and “Response and Call”; and Hale, “Bakhtin in African
American Literary Theory.”
2. In an interview in the Black Scholar in 1973, Baldwin acknowledges his Native
American heritage, too: “I’m part Indian” (Standley and Pratt, Conversations,
148).
3. Mae G. Henderson, “Speaking in Tongues,” 352.
4. Gates, “The ‘Blackness of Blackness,’” 698.
5. The voice-over narration is a cheaper technique than dubbing and still widely
used in Polish television and on DVDs and VHS tapes. It is an edited translation
of the transcribed soundtrack that is read in Polish with the original soundtrack
vaguely audible.
6. This material may have come from the English filmmaker Dick Fontaine’s and
his African American codirector Pat Hartley’s documentary I Heard It through the
Grapevine. It shows Baldwin revisiting the South in 1980 and includes his commen-
tary and meetings with local civil rights activists. David Leeming reports in his
authorized biography of Baldwin that Fontaine’s documentary was presented on
“prime-time television in England” in 1982 ( James Baldwin: A Biography, 353), so it
is possible that TV Poland could have obtained clips of it around the same time.
7. My teacher and graduate advisor at Warsaw University was Professor Zbigniew
Lewicki, to whom I am grateful for early guidance and encouragement as I was
trying to decide whether or not I was cut out for academic work. Unlike today,
when it seems to be the fastest-growing field within American cultural studies,
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