Harlem Renaissance

Overview

During the Harlem Renaissance, African-American culture flourished. The period gave birth to numerous significant and enduring creative works that were at once American and emblematic of the black experience in particular. It was a time when African-American culture became more distinct from American culture in general, though it also continued to be a part of America's larger cultural heritage. While the writers, artists, and intellectuals who contributed to the Harlem Renaissance recognized that they had much ...

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Overview

During the Harlem Renaissance, African-American culture flourished. The period gave birth to numerous significant and enduring creative works that were at once American and emblematic of the black experience in particular. It was a time when African-American culture became more distinct from American culture in general, though it also continued to be a part of America's larger cultural heritage. While the writers, artists, and intellectuals who contributed to the Harlem Renaissance recognized that they had much in common, they also sought to distinguish themselves from one another. This book approaches the achievement of the Harlem Renaissance from the perspective of the conflict between individual and group identity.

According to W.E.B. Du Bois, black intellectuals of the period sought to be both Negroes and Americans. At the same time, the relationship of the individual to the group was no less problematic and served to inspire, as well as complicate, the imaginations of the principal figures discussed in this book—W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston. As a consequence, this study focuses on the tension each of these individuals felt as he or she sought to construct a narrative that mirrored this complex experience as well as the problematics of one's own self-identity.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This study focuses on five important individuals (W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston) from that remarkable generation of poets, novelists, playwrights, painters, essayists, and musicians who collectively represent what is now known as the Harlem Renaissance. Following the introduction, Helbling (American Studies, U. of Hawaii) presents six essays that show how these individuals struggled to come to terms with the tension between the one and the many. They demonstrate that each in his or her own way attempted to establish the self that challenged the claims others sought to impose. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

MARK HELBLING is Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 "One Ever Feels His Two-Ness" 19
3 "Feeling Universality and Thinking Particularistically" 43
4 "Camels of Obviousness and Gnats of Particularistically" 69
5 "Universality of Life under the Different Colors and Patterns" 97
6 "Worlds of Shadow-Planes and Solids Silently Moving" 129
7 "My Soul Was with the Gods and My Body in the Village" 159
Afterword 191
Select Bibliography 195
Index 197
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