The Collected Writings of Wallace Thurman: A Harlem Renaissance Reader

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This book is the definitive collection of the writings of Wallace Thurman (1902-1934), providing a comprehensive anthology of both the published and unpublished works of this bohemian, bisexual writer. Widely regarded as the enfant terrible of the Harlem Renaissance scene, Thurman was a leader among a group of young artists and intellectuals that included, among others, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Bruce Nugent, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Aaron Douglas. Through the publication of magazines such as FIRE!! and Harlem: A Forum of Negro Life, Thurman tried to organize the opposition of the younger generation against the programmatic and promotional ideologies of the older generation of black leaders and intellectuals such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Benjamin Brawley. Thurman also left a permanent mark on the period through his prolific work as a novelist, playwright, short story writer, and literary critic, as well as by claiming for himself a voice as a public intellectual.

The Collected Writings of Wallace Thurman is divided into eight sections to highlight the variety of genres and styles Thurman practiced as he courageously pursued controversial subjects throughout his short and brilliant career.  It includes Essays on Harlem, Social Essays and Journalism, Correspondence, Literary Essays and Reviews, Poetry and Short Fiction, Plays, and Excerpts from Novel.

Filling an important gap in Harlem Renaissance literature, this collection brings together all of Thurman’s essays, nearly all of his letters to major black and white figures of the 1920s, and three previously unpublished major works.  These books are Aunt Hagar’s Children, which is a collection of essays and two full-length plays, Harlem, and Jeremiah the Magnificent. The introduction to the volume, along with the carefully researched introductory notes to each of the eight sections, provides a challenging new reevaluation of Thurman and the Harlem Renaissance for both the general reader and scholar. 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813533001
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Pages: 536
  • Lexile: 1180L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.14 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Table of Contents

A Note on the Text
Introduction: Wallace Thurman and the Harlem Renaissance 1
Pt. 1 Essays on Harlem 29
Harlem: A Vivid Word Picture of the World's Greatest Negro City 32
Harlem Facets 35
Negro Life in New York's Harlem: A Lively Picture of a Popular and Interesting Section 39
Harlem Directory: Where to Go and What to Do When in Harlem 63
Harlemese 64
Few Know Real Harlem, the City of Surprises: Quarter Million Negroes Form a Moving, Colorful Pageant of Life 66
The Bump (A Dance They Do in Harlem) 71
Harlem House Rent Parties 73
Odd Jobs in Harlem 74
Pt. 2 Social Essays and Journalism 79
Christmas: Its Origin and Significance 82
In the Name of Purity 84
Quoth Brigham Young - This Is the Place 86
Autobiographical Statement 91
Description of a Male Tuberculosis Ward 92
Pt. 3 Correspondence 95
Letters to Langston Hughes 104
Letters to William Jourdan Rapp 132
Letters to W. E. B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, Alain Locke, and Granville Hicks 163
Letters to Harold Jackman 168
Letters to Dorothy West 171
Pt. 4 Literary Essays and Reviews 177
Review of Black Harvest 182
A Thrush at Eve with an Atavistic Wound: Review of Flight 183
Editorial, The Messenger 184
Review of Blues: An Anthology 185
Review of Heloise and Abelard 187
Review of Teeftallow 189
Notes - Short Review of Flight 190
A Stranger at the Gates: A Review of Nigger Heaven 191
Fire Burns: A Department of Comment 193
Negro Artists and the Negro 195
Nephews of Uncle Remus 200
Negro Poets and Their Poetry 205
Editorial Essay, Harlem 216
High, Low, Past, and Present: Review of The Walls of Jericho, Quicksand, and Adventures of an African Slaver 218
Langston Hughes Turns from Poetry to the Novel to Give a Sincere Picture of Negro Life in America 221
Books to Read - Review of Southern Road 224
Review of Infants of the Spring 226
Pt. 5 Aunt Hagar's Children 229
Author's Preface 234
Notes on a Stepchild 235
This Negro Literary Renaissance 241
Tribute 251
Frederick Douglass: The Black Emancipator 253
Booker T. Washington 269
Marcus Garvey 272
Draw Your Own Conclusions 280
The Perpetual Bugaboo 281
The Coming Revolution 282
Terpsichore in Harlem 284
Pt. 6 Poems and Short Stories 289
The Last Citadel 291
Confession 291
God's Edict 291
Untitled 292
Frustration 292
On Meeting a Genius (To Jean Toomer) 293
Stars 294
Grist in the Mill 294
Cordelia the Crude 301
Pt. 7 Plays 305
Harlem: A Melodrama of Negro Life in Harlem 313
Casting and Directing Harlem 370
Detouring Harlem to Times Square 371
Harlem as Educational Drama 372
My Collaborator 374
Two Playwrights Look at Harlem 374
The Writing of Harlem: The Story of a Strange Collaboration 376
Jeremiah the Magnificent 378
Pt. 8 Excerpts from the Novels 441
The Blacker the Berry 449
Infants of the Spring 462
The Interne 485
Bibliography 495
Photo Credits 499
Index of Names 501
Index of Works 507
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