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ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Renaissance Man from Louisiana: A Biography of Arna Wendell Bontemps

Renaissance Man from Louisiana: A Biography of Arna Wendell Bontemps

by Kirkland C. JonesKirkland C. Jones


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In his youth a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Arna Wendell Bontemps matured into a renaissance man in the broadest sense, a person fully engaged in the life of the intellect. He contributed vastly to the culture of his era through his own writings—fiction, plays, poetry, children's books, scholarship, and criticism—and advanced it through teaching, librarianship, and as a sponsor and patron of other artists. This detailed and fond biography provides a thorough analysis of Bontemps's private and public lives. Author Kirkland Jones is effective at portraying Bontemps's Creole family background and childhood in Louisiana and California, his roles as rebellious but devoted son and loving and supportive husband and father, his fertile contributions to the arts, and his abiding commitment to service, which is perhaps most in evidence in his building of African-American library collections at Fisk University.

A colleague and friend of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and other outstanding African-American writers, Bontemps has been curiously neglected by biographers. Utilizing copious archival and interview materials in this carefully researched study, Kirkland Jones fills out the portrait of Bontemps that previously could only be glimpsed from biographies of his contemporaries and his published correspondence with them. In the process, factual errors about Bontemps's life are corrected. A work of painstaking scholarship, this biography nevertheless is written to appeal to young people and adults interested in this admirable and fascinating gentleman-scholar-poet as well as to students of American and African-American literature and cultural and intellectual history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313280139
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/21/1992
Series: Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies Series , #15
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

KIRKLAND C. JONES is Professor of English at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, specializing in African-American and Third World literatures. He contributed the entry on Bontemps, among others, to the Dictionary of Literary Biography and has published book chapters and articles in academic journals.

Table of Contents


Family Backgrounds and Birth

Early Years in Alexandria, Louisiana

Childhood in Los Angeles

Coming of Age in California

Unique Role in the Renaissance

The Depression Period

The Chicago Period

Distinguished Career at Fisk

The Mature Years

Bibliographic Essay


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