Harlem Renaissance: Five Novels of the 1920s leads off with Jean Toomer's Cane (1923), a unique fusion of fiction, poetry, and drama rooted in Toomer's experiences as a teacher in Georgia. Claude McKay's Home to Harlem (1928), whose freewheeling, impressionistic, bawdy kaleidoscope of Jazz Age nightlife made it a best seller, traces the picaresque adventures of Jake, a World War I veteran, within and beyond Harlem. Nella Larsen's Quicksand (1928), the poignant, nuanced psychological portrait of a woman caught between the two worlds of her mixed Scandinavian and African American heritage; Jessie Redmon Fauset's Plum Bun (1928), the richly detailed account of a young art student's struggles to advance her career in a society full of obstacles both overt and insidiously concealed; and Wallace Thurman's The Blacker the Berry (1929), with its anguished, provocative look at prejudice and exclusion as it tells of a new arrival in Harlem searching for love, each in its distinct way testifies to the enduring power of the Harlem ferment.
In the wake of the Great Migration of thousands of African Americans from the scattered hamlets and farms of the rural South to the nation's burgeoning cities, a New Negro ethos of modernist cultural expression and potent self-determination arose to challenge white supremacy and create opportunities for racial advancement. In Prove It On Me, Erin D. Chapman explores the gender and sexual politics of this modern racial ethos and reveals the constraining and exploitative underside of the New Negro era's vaunted liberation and opportunities. Chapman's cultural history documents the effects on black women of the intersection of primitivism, New Negro patriarchal aspirations, and the early twentieth-century consumer culture. As U.S. society invested in the New Negroes, turning their expressions and race politics into entertaining commodities in a sexualized, primitivist popular culture, the New Negroes invested in the idea of black womanhood as a pillar of stability against theunsettling forces of myriad social and racial transformations. And both groups used black women's bodies and identities to "prove" their own modern notions and new identities. Prove It On Me investigates the uses made of black women's bodies in 1920s popular culture and racial politics and black women's opportunities to assert their own modern, racial identities.
The Harlem Renaissance was an electrifying period during which huge numbers of African Americans threw off the shackles of discrimination, exploitation, and poverty in the South and moved north. Heady with the feeling of liberation and the discovery of other like-minded folk, artists, writers, painters, and dancers engaged in bursts of furious creativity. From Josephine Baker, taking Paris by storm with her sensual performances and ravishing costumes, to Duke Ellington, revolutionizing the way people thought about rhythm and melody, these artists were the preeminent stylemakers of the era. The Power of Pride is a visually spirited and intimate book full of photographs, letters, playbills, and drawings that capture the gaiety and excitement of the time. Moving from the brownstones of Striver's Row in Harlem to the Negro Appreciation salons in Paris, the book focuses on seventeen Renaissance figures who exemplify the themes of race, fortitude, talent, and style, and whose strength of will and ability created a model for all those with dreams and aspirations emerging in the African-American community. The Power of Pride serves as a vivid testament to the artistic and social contributions of the Harlem Renaissance to the history of America.
Poet, playwright, novelist, and public figure, Langston Hughes is regarded as a cultural hero who made his mark during the Harlem Renaissance. A prolific author, Hughes focused his writing on discrimination in and disillusionment with American society. His most noted works include the novel Not Without Laughter, the poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers, and the essay The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, to name just a few. Langston Hughes, New Edition features compelling critical essays that create a well-rounded portrait of this great American writer. An introductory essay by Harold Bloom and a chronology tracing the major events in Hughes's life add further depth to this newly updated study tool.
This title explores the events surrounding the doomed flight of the space shuttle Challenger, providing background information on the event, examining related controversies, and offering personal narratives from those who witnessed or were involved in the disaster.
This book explores Langston Hughes's efforts to mediate problems of identity and ethics he faced as an African-American professional writer and intellectual. Determined on a literary career at a time when no African American had yet been able to live off his or her writing; constrained by poverty, racism, and lack of opportunity; and pressed by the hopes, expectations, and demands of readers and critics of all stripes, Hughes had to rely on his dexterity as a mediator among competing positions in order to preserve his art, his integrity, and his unique status as the literary voice of ordinary African Americans. Issues treated include Hughes's interventions in the shifting definition of "authentic blackness," his work toward a socially effectual discourse of racial protest, his involvement with liberal politics, his ambivalence toward moral compromise even as he engaged in it, and the imprint of all these matters in texts ranging from his poetry and fiction to his essays and newspaper columns.
In this chatty and informed biography culled mostly from existing biographies and general books on the era Wood charts the amazing life and times of "La Baker." Her life story reads like a novel coauthored by Toni Morrison and Danielle Steel as she rose from poverty in the U.S., became famous for dancing almost nude in the Folies Bergre (she wore only a skirt made of bananas), worked for the French Resistance, spoke out vehemently against Nazism and all forms of racism, married numerous times and became a glamorous international star who performed until her death in 1975. While Wood's biography contains no surprises, its workmanlike diligence is an improvement over Lyn Haney's 1981 Naked at the Feast, which glossed over the complications of Baker's life, and Phyllis Rose's 1989 Jazz Cleopatra, which took an oddly hostile tone to the performer.
Through the figure of Josephine Baker, Second Skin tells the story of an unexpected yet enduring intimacy between the invention of a modernist style and the theatricalization of black skin at the turn of the twentieth century. Stepping outside of the platitudes surrounding this iconic figure, Anne Anlin Cheng argues that Baker's famous nakedness must be understood within larger philosophic and aesthetic debates about, and desire for, 'pure surface' that crystallized at the convergence of modern art, architecture, machinery, and philosophy. Through Cheng's analysis, Baker emerges as a central artist whose work engages with and impacts various modes of modernist display such as film, photography, art, and even the modern house.
Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was a dancer, singer, actress, author, politician, militant, and philanthropist, whose images and cultural legacy have survived beyond the hundredth anniversary of her birth. Neither an exercise in postmodern deconstruction nor simple biography, Josephine Baker in Art and Life presents a critical cultural study of the life and art of the Franco-American performer whose appearances as the savage dancer Fatou shocked the world. Although the study remains firmly anchored in Josephine Baker's life and times, presenting and challenging carefully researched biographical facts, it also offers in-depth analyses of the images that she constructed and advanced. Bennetta Jules-Rosette explores Baker's far-ranging and dynamic career from a sociological and cultural perspective, using the tools of sociosemiotics to excavate the narratives, images, and representations that trace the story of her life and fit together as a cultural production.
Zora Neale Hurston was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Although her work was long ignored, it is now widely studied and praised. Her most famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, a classic in the African-American canon, depicts a woman’s struggle for self-empowerment. Featuring supplemental material such as a chronology, a bibliography, and an index, Zora Neale Hurston, New Edition is a keen critical look at Hurston’s work and its influence on contemporary themes, such as race and gender in American society.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a key text in African American literature. Its author Zora Neale Hurston has become an iconic figure for her literary works and for her invaluable contribution to documenting elements of black folk culture in the rural south and in the Caribbean. This introductory book designed for students explores Hurston's artistic achievements and her unique character: her staunch individualism, her penchant for drama, her sometimes controversial politics, her philosophical influences and her views on gender relations. Lovalerie King explores Hurston's life and analyses her major works and short stories. Historical, social, political, and cultural contexts for Hurston's life and work, including her key role in the development of the Harlem Renaissance, are set out.
Zora Neale Hurston, one the first great African-American novelists, was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance and an inspiration for future generations of writers. Hher novels are admired for their depiction of Southern black culture and their strong female characters. This new volume covers all her writings, including Their Eyes Were Watching God; her landmark works of folklore and anthropology, such as Mules and Men; and shorter works, such as her story "The Gilded Six-Bits." Detailed entries on her life and related people, places, and topics round out this comprehensive and in-depth guide.
Nella Larsen (1891-1964) is recognized as one of the most influential, and certainly one of the most enigmatic, writers of the Harlem Renaissance. With the instant success of her two novels, Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929), she became a bright light in New York's literary firmament. But her meteoric rise was followed by an equally sudden fall: In 1930 she was accused of plagiarizing a short story, and soon thereafter she disappeared from both the literary and African-American worlds of New York. She lived the rest of her life - more than three decades - out of the public eye, working primarily as a nurse. In a remarkable achievement, Thadious Davis has penetrated the fog of mystery that has surrounded Larsen to present a detailed and fascinating account of the life and work of this gifted, determined, yet vulnerable artist. In addition to unraveling the details of Larsen's personal life, Davis deftly situates the writer within the broader politics and aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance and analyzes her life and work in terms of the current literature on race and gender. .
Larsen's status as a Harlem Renaissance woman writer was rivaled by only Zora Neale Hurston's. This Norton Critical Edition of her electrifying 1929 novel includes Carla Kaplan's detailed and thought-provoking introduction, thorough explanatory annotations, and a Note on the Text.An unusually rich "Background and Contexts" section connects the novel to the historical events of the day, most notably the sensational Rhinelander/Jones case of 1925. Fourteen contemporary reviews are reprinted, including those by Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Mary Griffin, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Published accounts from 1911 to 1935--by Langston Hughes, Juanita Ellsworth, and Caleb Johnson, among others--provide a nuanced view of the contemporary cultural dimensions of race and passing, both in America and abroad. Also included are Larsen's statements on the novel and on passing, as well as a generous selection of her letters and her central writings on "The Tragic Mulatto(a)" in American literature.
In the literature of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America, black characters who pass for white embody a paradox. By virtue of the "one drop" rule that long governed the nation's race relations, they are legally black. Yet the color of their skin makes them visibly - and therefore socially - white. In this book, Kathleen Pfeiffer explores the implications of this dilemma by analyzing its treatment in the fiction of six writers: William Dean Howells, Frances E. Harper, Jean Toomer, James Weldon Johnson, Jessie Fauset, and Nella Larsen. Although passing for white has sometimes been viewed as an expression of racial self-hatred or disloyalty, Pfeiffer argues that the literary evidence is much more ambiguous than that. Rather than indicating a denial of "blackness" or co-optation by the dominant white culture, passing can be viewed as a form of self-determination consistent with American individualism. In their desire to manipulate personal identity in order to achieve social acceptance and upward mobility, light-skilled blacks who pass for white are no different from those Americans who reinvent themselves in terms of class, religion, or family history.