The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)


The Norton Critical Edition of this influential Harlem Renaissance novel includes related materials available in no other edition.
Known only as the “Ex-Colored Man,” the protagonist in Johnson’s novel is forced to choose between celebrating his African American heritage or “passing” as an average white man in a post-Reconstruction America that is rapidly changing. This Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1912 text. It is accompanied by a detailed introduction, explanatory footnotes, and a note on the text. The appendices that follow the novel include materials available in no other edition: manuscript drafts of the final chapters, including the original lynching scene (chapter 10, ca. 1910) and the original ending (chapter 11, ca. 1908).
An unusually rich selection of “Backgrounds and Sources” focuses on Johnson’s life; the autobiographical inspirations for The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; the cultural history of the era in which Johnson lived and wrote; the noteworthy reception history for the 1912, 1927, and 1948 editions; and related writings by Johnson. In addition to Johnson, contributors include Eugene Levy, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcy A. Sacks, Carl Van Vechten, Blanche W. Knopf, Victor Weybright, and Cecile Fishbein, among others.
The seven critical essays and interpretations in this volume speak to The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man’s major themes, among them irony, authorship, passing, and parody. Early assessments (1930s–70s) are provided by Robert A. Bone, Robert Fleming, and Robert B. Stepto. Recent contributors are Jacqueline Goldsby, Samira Kawash, Christina L. Ruotolo, and M. Giulia Fabi.
A chronology of Johnson’s life and work and a selected bibliography are also included.

A ground-breaking document of Afro-American culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393972863
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/3/2014
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,454,612
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Goldsby is Professor of English and African American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature, winner of the MLA’s William S. Scarborough Prize, and of the forthcoming Birth of the Cool: African American Literary Culture of the 1940s and 1950s.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Suggestions for Further Reading A Note on the Text Preface to the Original Edition of 1912


Explanatory Notes

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