Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean

Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean

by James Davis

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Eric Walrond (1898–1966) was a writer, journalist, caustic critic, and fixture of 1920s Harlem. His short story collection, Tropic Death, was one of the first efforts by a black author to depict Caribbean lives and voices in American fiction. Restoring Walrond to his proper place as a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance, this biography situates Tropic Death within the author's broader corpus and positions the work as a catalyst and driving force behind the New Negro literary movement in America.

James Davis follows Walrond from the West Indies to Panama, New York, France, and finally England. He recounts his relationships with New Negro authors such as Countée Cullen, Charles S. Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Alain Locke, and Gwendolyn Bennett, as well as the white novelist Carl Van Vechten. He also recovers Walrond's involvement with Marcus Garvey's journal Negro World and the National Urban League journal Opportunity and examines the writer's work for mainstream venues, including Vanity Fair.

In 1929, Walrond severed ties with Harlem, but he did not disappear. He contributed to the burgeoning anticolonial movement and print culture centered in England and fueled by C. L. R. James, George Padmore, and other Caribbean expatriates. His history of Panama, shelved by his publisher during the Great Depression, was the first to be written by a West Indian author. Unearthing documents in England, Panama, and the United States, and incorporating interviews, criticism of Walrond's fiction and journalism, and a sophisticated account of transnational black cultural formations, Davis builds an eloquent and absorbing narrative of an overlooked figure and his creation of modern American and world literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231538619
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 02/24/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

James Davis is a professor in the American Studies Program and the English Department at Brooklyn College, where he is also the deputy chair for graduate studies. He is author of Commerce in Color: Race, Consumer Culture, and American Literature, 1893–1933 (2007).

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Harlem Story, a Diaspora Story
1. Guyana and Barbados (1898–1911)
2. Panama (1911–1918)
3. New York (1918–1923)
4. The New Negro (1923–1926)
5. Tropic Death
6. A Person of Distinction (1926–1929)
7. The Caribbean and France (1928–1931)
8. London I (1931–1939)
9. Bradford-on-Avon (1939–1952)
10. Roundway Hospital and The Second Battle (1952–1957)
11. London II (1957–1966)

What People are Saying About This

Gary Edward Holcomb

The time is now for this biography of Eric Walrond. It will unquestionably make an original and significant contribution to the fields of African American and Caribbean literary studies, transnational studies, and Diaspora studies. It is the only existing biography of Walrond, and does an admirable job of not only presenting solid research on its subject but also thinking through the complexity of Walrond's particular contribution and role in twentieth-century black transnational and Diaspora history and culture.

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