Ethiopian Stories

Ethiopian Stories

by George Samuel Schuyler

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These two recently recovered novellas by the influential Harlem Renaissance author feature the thrilling and suspenseful adventures of African Americans involved in the Italo-Ethiopian war of the 1930s.  See more details below


These two recently recovered novellas by the influential Harlem Renaissance author feature the thrilling and suspenseful adventures of African Americans involved in the Italo-Ethiopian war of the 1930s.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his later years, Schuyler (1895-1977), a black journalist, gained notoriety for his conservative attacks on leading black figures, including Martin Luther King. Earlier, though, he energized African American literature by appropriating the crime and science fiction genres to its uses. This volume, a follow-up to 1991's Black Empire, contains two of Schuyler's genre novellas, serialized in the 1930s and recently recovered by editor Hill. Both stories concern Ethiopia's struggle in the 1930s to liberate itself from Italian rule. Set in Harlem, ``The Ethiopian Murder Mystery'' concerns a newspaper reporter's efforts to prove wealthy Crissina Van Dyke innocent of the murder of Prince Haile Destu, an Ethiopian diplomat; the reporter's sleuthing eventually uncovers a plot with international political roots. In ``Revolt in Ethiopia,'' Dick Welland, a former redcap made wealthy through inheritance, unwittingly becomes involved in the efforts of Ethiopian princess Ettar Zunda to finance her country's warriors by going after a fabulous treasure. Using adventure-tale conventions, Schuyler depicts the duo's narrow escapes and Welland's deepening commitment to the princess and her cause. The stories are straight pulp, high on suspense and low on sophistication and depth. Hill's introduction, however, which positions Schuyler in the American literary canon, makes clear the historical import of his work, despite its banality. (Dec.)
Two recently recovered detective-spy novellas by African-American writer Schuyler (1895-1977)--The Ethiopian Murder Mystery and Revolt in Ethiopia--are published here for the first time in book form, having originally been serialized in the Pittsburgh Courier during the 1930s. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Donna Seaman
Schuyler was America's best-known black journalist during the Depression era, writing with great boldness and eloquence about the issues of his day. One such topic was Italy's 1935-36 invasion of Ethiopia. Outraged by the Fascists' takeover of the ancient, independent African kingdom and believing that African Americans should voice their objections and offer assistance to Ethiopia, Schuyler turned to fiction to arouse his public. His "Ethiopian Stories", including the two novellas collected here, were serialized in the "Pittsburgh Courier". The first, "Ethiopian Murder Mystery," is set in Harlem and revolves around the murder of an Ethiopian prince. The second tale, "Revolt in Ethiopia," is much more elaborate. It begins onboard an ocean liner where Dick Welland, an African American millionaire, is drawn into the intrigue and danger surrounding the beautiful and courageous Ethiopian princess Ettara Zunda's mission to arm her people. Here Schuyler uses his fiction to dispel commonly held misconceptions about Africa and to celebrate Ethiopia's long and distinguished history. He also, of course, serves up plenty of romanticized adventure. These classic cliff-hangers are of interest for their political message and historical context and as examples of a lost art form.
From the Publisher
"Two intriguing 1930s novellas, fine examples of a then-popular genre: literary Pan-Africanism. . . These two stories combine propaganda and entertainment; while they read like straightforward murder mysteries, they demonstrate the commitment of essayist, journalist, and satirist Schuyler (1885-1977) to the outcome of Ethiopia's struggle." —Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
Northeastern Library of Black Literature
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.95(d)

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