Harlem Renaissance figure Nugent, who died in 1987, was a member of the self-proclaimed "Niggerati" that included Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and others. His never before published roman à clef, written between 1928 and 1933, is a mess of a novel that's still a useful first-hand account of Jazz Age identity politics. Book I features the exhilarating atmosphere of Harlem as the arts and intellectual movement catches fire. Unfortunately, the action is filtered through the eyes of Nugent's alter ego, Stuartt, who despite an intriguing mix of characteristics-he's a gay black man light-skinned enough to pass as white-is an insufferable narcissist. Shoehorned into the aimless scenes of gin-soaked parties-where Stuartt is always the star-are self-conscious but thought-provoking soliloquies about the age-old conundrum: race shouldn't matter, but it does. Decidedly more provocative is Book II, in which a more vulnerable Stuartt moves to Greenwich Village and sleeps his way to the top of the Italian underworld. It's shocking in the manner of pre-Code Hollywood, but the book, with its diffuse narrative and self-aggrandizing protagonist, suffers from its posthumous assembly. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Gentleman Jigger: A Novel of the Harlem Renaissanceby Richard Bruce Nugent, Arnold Rampersad (Foreword by), Thomas H. Wirth (Editor)
An important addition to the literature of the period, Gentleman Jigger is the story of two brothers. Aeon, who passes for white and becomes a famous poet, faces the conundrums of love across the color line. Stuartt, who is openly homosexual-as was the author-joins the younger intellectuals of Harlem in defying authority figures, both black and white, at the/i>
An important addition to the literature of the period, Gentleman Jigger is the story of two brothers. Aeon, who passes for white and becomes a famous poet, faces the conundrums of love across the color line. Stuartt, who is openly homosexual-as was the author-joins the younger intellectuals of Harlem in defying authority figures, both black and white, at the notorious “Niggeratti Manor.” After the group disperses, Stuartt moves to Greenwich Village and becomes sexually involved with a young hoodlum. Charming and audacious, Stuartt eventually seduces one of the gangster's top bosses, Orini, before his friendships with Wayne, a young heiress, and Bebe, Orini's “moll,” set them all spinning in a whirlwind of jazz-age glamour and celebrity...that ends in an ironic dénouement.
- Da Capo Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.97(d)
Meet the Author
Richard Bruce Nugent collaborated with Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and others to create the “little magazine” FIRE!! in 1926. He lived in New York City until his death in 1987.
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