A Son's Return: Selected Essays of Sterling A. Brown

A Son's Return: Selected Essays of Sterling A. Brown

by Sterling A. Brown
     
 

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This selection of the writings of the influential African American critic and poet Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989) demonstrates his critical acumen and commitment to inclusive politics. The book contains three groupings of essays, focusing in turn on African American political issues, literature, and music, and concludes with a selection of Brown's literature and

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Overview

This selection of the writings of the influential African American critic and poet Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989) demonstrates his critical acumen and commitment to inclusive politics. The book contains three groupings of essays, focusing in turn on African American political issues, literature, and music, and concludes with a selection of Brown's literature and film reviews. These writings consistently point out the biases against black Americans in white cultural expression and argue for a recognition of the cultural contributions of African Americans.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In January 1989, poet, folklorist and literary critic Sterling A. Brown died, leaving behind him a legacy of criticism for which modern commentators on African American culture should remain eternally grateful. Versatility perhaps best describes this collection of lectures, essays and reviews assembled here. Wisely, Sanders has selected from Brown's prodigious output those pieces most representative of his work on literature, history, folklore and music. Yet, despite the noble attempt to showcase Brown's immense learning, the collection also underscores Brown's weaknesses as a critic. For example, in essays like "Negro Character as Seen by White Authors" and "The New Negro in Literature," one can't help noticing how quickly analytical depth is sacrificed to the bibliographical fervor to discuss as many works as possible in a single essay. Moreover, Sanders stumbles badly in opening the collection with the unedited transcript of a disorganized, repetitive lecture delivered by Brown at Williams College, aptly subtitled "Oh, Didn't He Ramble." And finally, there is the question of fact-checking, as Sanders lets pass without editorial intervention Brown's mistaken attribution (through no fault of his own) of the famous antebellum pro-slavery book review "Slavery in the United States" to Edgar Allan Poe which has since come to be regarded by scholars as the work of Beverly Tucker. These are real problems, but they don't invalidate this collection as a valuable resource for those who would understand what black studies looked like before its post-1960s institutionalization. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Sanders (English, Emory Univ.) has written scholarly articles about Sterling Brown, an influential and prolific African American writer of the "New Negro Movement," a term that Brown preferred over "Harlem Renaissance." Now the editor has compiled 16 of Brown's many essays and reviews (dating from the 1930s to the 1950s) on African American music and literature and other topics, along with a speech made in 1973 and Robert G. O'Meally's annotated bibliography of Brown's works. "Our Literary Audience" (1930), "Negro Characters as Seen by White Authors" (1933), and "Negro Folk Expression: Spirituals, Secular, Ballads and Work" (1953) are essays that elucidate Brown's analytical argument that American arts and literature have been shaped and enriched by African American folk culture. Sanders presents a tantalizing sampler of Brown's essays that leaves the reader wishing for a complete collection of the writer's publications. Recommended for academic, research, and large public libraries.Charles L. Lumpkins, Bloomsburg Univ. Lib., Pa.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555532741
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
11/14/1996
Series:
Northeastern Library of Black Literature
Pages:
288

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