The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones

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The complete autobiography of a literary legend.

Poet, dramatist, novelist, critic, teacher, and political activist Amiri Baraka, born LeRoi Jones, vividly recounts his crusading role in African American literature. A driving force behind the Black Arts Movement, the prolific Baraka retells his experiences from his participation in avant-garde literature after World War II and his role in Black nationalism after the assassination of ...

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The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones

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Overview

The complete autobiography of a literary legend.

Poet, dramatist, novelist, critic, teacher, and political activist Amiri Baraka, born LeRoi Jones, vividly recounts his crusading role in African American literature. A driving force behind the Black Arts Movement, the prolific Baraka retells his experiences from his participation in avant-garde literature after World War II and his role in Black nationalism after the assassination of Malcolm X to his conversion to Islam and his commitments to an international socialist vision.

When The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones was first published in 1984, the publisher made substantial cuts in the copy. Under the careful direction of the author, the book has been restored to its original form. This is the first complete and unexpurgated version of Baraka’s life and work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The story of Baraka’s metamorphosis is itself part of the story of contemporary literature’s development.” —Publishers Weekly

"Always a nuance ahead of everybody else, he is our more original writers. Nobody else comes close." —Ishmael Reed

"He is regarded by those closest to Black art as the nation's leading Black writer, which of course suggests that no other, however talented, has proven—in this time and place—more valuable to Black people." —Ebony

Library Journal
Although this edition of Baraka's autobiography restores substantial cuts made to the original Freundlich Books publication (LJ 1/84), the basic structure of the work remains unchanged: it covers Baraka's youth in Newark, stint in the air force, Beat years in Greenwich Village, role in the Black Arts movement, and conversion from black nationalism to communism around 1974. It is puzzling that this edition continues to disguise key people and publications. For instance, Baraka refers to his ex-wife, Hettie Cohen, as Nellie Kohn; poet Diane DiPrima as Lucia DiBella; and the Partisan Review as the Sectarian Review. What purpose can this obfuscation serve when How I Became Hettie Jones (LJ 2/15/90) has already named names? It will be interesting to see how DiPrima's forthcoming autobiography deals with the same scene. Recommended for libraries lacking the earlier edition.-William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556522314
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Series: Library of Black America Series
  • Edition description: COMPLETE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 648,645
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

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