The Harlem Group of Negro Writers, By Melvin B. Tolson

Overview

Melvin B. Tolson (1898-1966) was both a participant in and historian of the Harlem Renaissance, probably the most significant movement in African American literature and culture. Known mostly for his poetry, and an unduly neglected figure in American literary history, Tolson was one of the first African American critics of the Harlem Renaissance. This book is an edition of his 1940 MA thesis, the first academic study of the Harlem Renaissance written by an African American scholar. Tolson's thesis, previously ...

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Overview

Melvin B. Tolson (1898-1966) was both a participant in and historian of the Harlem Renaissance, probably the most significant movement in African American literature and culture. Known mostly for his poetry, and an unduly neglected figure in American literary history, Tolson was one of the first African American critics of the Harlem Renaissance. This book is an edition of his 1940 MA thesis, the first academic study of the Harlem Renaissance written by an African American scholar. Tolson's thesis, previously unpublished in its entirety, provides a unique look at this important era and draws heavily on his familiarity with some of the most important writers of the movement.

Included are discussions of such major figures as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and W.E.B. Du Bois, along with chapters on lesser-known authors such as George Schuyler, Eric Walrond, and Jessie Fauset, who are now being rediscovered. An introductory essay surveys the history of Harlem Renaissance criticism and Tolson's place in it and evaluates his methodology and use of sources. The introduction additionally presents a brief biography and details the creation of his thesis. The text of Tolson's thesis appears in its entirety, along with his notes and those of the volume editor. The book closes with a bibliography of works on Tolson and a large but selective bibliography on the Harlem Renaissance in general.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This handsomely-bound volume is a reprint of poet and journalist Tolson's master's thesis (Columbia U., 1940) on the writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Tolson presents the social background of the Harlem Renaissance, discusses the lives and works of its writers in the light of modern criticism, and interprets its attitudes and stylistic methods. Mullen's (Spanish, U. of Missouri, Columbia) introduction includes background information on the life and works of Tolson. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

MELVIN B. TOLSON (1898-1966), born in Moberly, Missouri, was an important yet often undervalued African American poet, journalist, and dramatist whose fame rests largely on four books of poetry: Rendezvous with America (1944), Libretto for the Republic of Liberia (1953), A Gallery of Harlem Portraits (1979), and Harlem Gallery: Book I, The Curator (1965). He also published a newspaper column, "Caviar and Cabbage," which appeared in the Washington Tribune from October 9, 1937 to June 24, 1944.

EDWARD J. MULLEN is Professor of Spanish at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he has taught since 1971.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

The Harlem Group of Negro Writers

Selected Bibliographies

Index

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