“Take the Mask Off”
Reconceptualising Paul Laurence Dunbar as a Biographical Subject
On March 10, 1895, a young woman named Maud Clark wrote a letter to writer, performer, and activist Paul Laurence Dunbar in which she told him to “take the mask off.” This article takes this phrase as its analytical point of departure, seeking to reconceptualise, retheorise, and reinvestigate Dunbar’s biography through Clark’s words and the symbol of the mask. Repositioning Dunbar’s biography within the political, aesthetic, and psychological realities of his world, the article takes the symbol of Paul Laurence Dunbar in new directions, recognising the limitations of traditional biography and instead working toward a new and multifarious understanding of the man and his many masks.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PRESS
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122
On behalf of
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Sponsored by the Regents of the University of California. Copyright © by the Regents of the University of California.
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ISSN 2151-4712 (print)
ISSN 2372-0751 (online)