Includes works from 45 Harlem Renaissance writers.
Library JournalEditor Lewis is a noted author of several books, e.g., When Harlem Was in Vogue ( LJ 3/15/81) and, most recently, W.E.B. DuBois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 ( LJ 8/93). This hefty tome features many significant essays, poems, and stories not readily available to all scholars that are drawn from African American journals of the period, including Opportunity, Crisis, and Fire! In his introduction, Lewis carefully explores tension within this arts and letters movement. The collected excerpts of writers like Cullen, Hurston, Hughes, McKay, DuBois, and Wright represent a balance between those Renaissance supporters and writers who ``saw the small cracks in the wall of racism that could, they anticipated, be widened through the production of exemplary racial images'' and those who ``saw art not as politics by other means--civil rights between covers or from a stage or an easel.'' This anthology will balance and enhance any modern American literature collection.-- Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Brad HooperThe Harlem Renaissance was a flowering of black culture centered in Harlem between the termination of World War I and the end of the Depression, from which emerged a body of literature that has yet to reach its maximum level of general appreciation. The best of that literature, or at least the most exemplary, is sampled here, with works being presented either in toto or in telling excerpt. General categories include essay, memoir, fiction, poetry, and drama; specific writers include such expected names as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Claude McKay, but lesser-known names are also represented. There is anger in these pages and also frustration, pride, pain, and elation, but above all there is incredible talent. Reading the collection straight through would be a wonderful education, but most readers will dip in here and there, and that is edifying, too. The editor, David L. Lewis, author of "W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919" ("Booklist"'s 1993 Top of the List winner for Adult Nonfiction), provides an exceptionally informative introduction.
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