Critical Response To Chester Himes

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Overview

The work of Chester Himes is now undergoing a critical and popular reevaluation as it gradually comes back into print after years of neglect. His protest novels from the 1940s and early 1950s, his Harlem Domestic crime books, first published in France and later released in English in the United States, and his remarkable two-volume autobiography are now gaining a wider readership through their republication. Nonetheless, the critical writings on his work remain scattered and are often difficult to obtain. This collection of reviews and essays from both popular and academic sources traces the critical response to his work from 1946 to 1996 and thus sheds light on the critical reputation of one of the most distinguished but underrated African American authors.

Himes has a wide international reputation, but this reference book focuses on those essays and reviews in the English language which provide a clearer assessment of his controversial literary standing in his native country, where his reputation has been most under debate. The book includes a balanced assessment of all his work, along with an interview with Himes's brother that offers some corrective commentary on his autobiography. The volume also provides a chronology, a checklist of his writings, and a bibliography.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
From the mid-1930s to the late 1970s, Chester Bomar Himes (1909-1984) was a poignant black voice against racism. Ironically, it was while incarcerated in Ohio State Penitentiary that he discovered his vocation as a writer. This and other autobiographical facts of the author of (1945) and (1972) are revealed in an interview with his sociologist brother in the last of 28 compiled reviews and essays written from 1946 (by James Baldwin) to 1996. Includes a chronology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

CHARLES L.P. SILET is Professor of English at Iowa State University.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chronology
The Writings of Chester Himes
Reviews
History as Nightmare 3
No Thrills in Harlem 7
The Crazy Kill and If He Hollers Let Him Go 11
The Best Black American Novelist Writing Today 13
Rhythms of Black Experience 17
Chester Himes - "Alien" in Exile 21
A Case of Rape 25
The Chester Himes Mystique 33
Policiers Noirs 37
Chester Himes: The Collected Stories 41
The Best of Himes, the Worst of Himes 43
Himes and Self-hatred 47
Essays
Domestic Harlem: The Detective Fiction of Chester Himes 53
Violence Real and Imagined: The Novels of Chester Himes 65
Chester Himes: "A Nigger" 83
The Use of the Doppelganger or Double in Chester Himes' Lonely Crusade 93
Chester Himes and the Art of Fiction 101
Chester Himes and the Hard-Boiled Tradition 117
In America's Black Heartland: The Achievement of Chester Himes 127
Postscript: A Case of Rape 139
Topographies of Violence: Chester Himes' Harlem Domestic Novels 155
Space and Civil Rights Ideology: The Example of Chester Himes's The Third Generation 169
Toni Morrison's Variations on Chester Himes 181
The Black Man in the Literature of Labor: The Early Novels of Chester Himes 187
Limited Options: Strategic Maneuverings in Himes's Harlem 201
African American Anti-Semitism and Himes's Lonely Crusade 221
Slaying the Fathers: The Autobiography of Chester Himes 241
An Interview
Chester Himes - The Ethics of Ambiguity: An Interview with Joseph Sandy Himes, Jr. 259
Bibliography 273
Index 281
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