Henry Louis Gates write that "Afro-American literary history is characterized by ... formal revision," wherein "black writers read and critique other ... texts as an act of rhetorical self-definition" (992). This revision is accomplished by a unique process of signification, an "Afro-American rhetorical strategy... [that] turns on the play and chain of signifiers" (989) drawn from literary and cultural texts, utilizing techniques such as "figuration, troping, ... parody ... [and] pastiche" (992).
Mandeville, Jess, "Melvillian Whiteness in Johnson's Pym" (2014). Open Books, Open Minds. 4.