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The Indignant Generation by Lawrence P. JacksonThe Indignant Generation is the first narrative history of the neglected but essential period of African American literature between the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights era. The years between these two indispensable epochs saw the communal rise of Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, and many other influential black writers. While these individuals have been duly celebrated, little attention has been paid to the political and artistic milieu in which they produced their greatest works. With this commanding study, Lawrence Jackson recalls the lost history of a crucial era. Looking at the tumultuous decades surrounding World War II, Jackson restores the "indignant" quality to a generation of African American writers shaped by Jim Crow segregation, the Great Depression, the growth of American communism, and an international wave of decolonization. He also reveals how artistic collectives in New York, Chicago, and Washington fostered a sense of destiny and belonging among diverse and disenchanted peoples. As Jackson shows through contemporary documents, the years that brought us Their Eyes Were Watching God, Native Son, and Invisible Man also saw the rise of African American literary criticism--by both black and white critics. Fully exploring the cadre of key African American writers who triumphed in spite of segregation, The Indignant Generation paints a vivid portrait of American intellectual and artistic life in the mid-twentieth century.
Call Number: PS153.N5 J37 2011
The Richard Wright Encyclopedia by Jerry W. Ward (Editor); Robert J. Butler (Editor)Richard Wright is one of the most important African American writers. He is also one of the most prolific. Best known as the author of Native Son, he wrote 7 novels; 2 collections of short fiction; an autobiography; more than 250 newspaper articles, book reviews, and occasional essays; some 4,000 verses; a photo-documentary; and 3 travel books. By attacking the taboos and hypocrisy that other writers had failed to address, he revolutionized American literature and created a disturbing and realistic portrait of the African American experience. This encyclopedia is a guide to his vast and influential body of works.
Call Number: PS3545.R815 Z8145 2008
A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun by Angela JacksonA look back at the cultural and political force of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, in celebration of her hundredth birthday Artist-Rebel-Pioneer Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks is one of the great American literary icons of the twentieth century, a protege of Langston Hughes and mentor to a generation of poets, including Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Elizabeth Alexander. Her poetry took inspiration from the complex portraits of black American life she observed growing up on Chicago's Southside-a world of kitchenette apartments and vibrant streets. From the desk in her bedroom, as a child she filled countless notebooks with poetry, encouraged by the likes of Hughes and affirmed by Richard Wright, who called her work "raw and real." Over the next sixty years, Brooks's poetry served as witness to the stark realities of urban life- the evils of lynching, the murders of Emmett Till and Malcolm X, the revolutionary effects of the civil rights movement, and the burgeoning power of the Black Arts Movement. Critical acclaim and the distinction in 1950 as the first black person ever awarded a Pulitzer Prize helped solidify Brooks as a unique and powerful voice. Now, in A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun, fellow Chicagoan and award-winning writer Angela Jackson delves deep into the rich fabric of Brooks's work and world. Granted unprecedented access to Brooks's family, personal papers, and writing community, Jackson traces the literary arc of this artist's long career and gives context for the world in which Brooks wrote and published her work. It is a powerfully intimate look at a once-in-a-lifetime talent up close, using forty-three of Brooks's most soul-stirring poems as a guide. From trying to fit in at school ("Forgive and Forget"), to loving her physical self ("To Those of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals"), to marriage and motherhood ("Maud Martha"), to young men on her block ("We Real Cool"), to breaking history ("Medgar Evers"), to newfound acceptance from her community and her elevation to a "surprising queenhood" ("The Wall"), Brooks lived life through her work. Jackson deftly unpacks it all for both longtime admirers of Brooks and newcomers curious about her interior life. A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sunis a commemoration of a writer who negotiated black womanhood and incomparable brilliance with a changing, restless world-an artistic maverick way ahead of her time.
Call Number: PS3503.R7244 Z685 2017
The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Ellison by Ross Posnock (Editor)Ralph Ellison's classic 1952 novel Invisible Man is one of the most important and controversial novels in the American canon and remains widely read and studied. This Companion provides an introduction to this influential and significant novelist and critic and to his masterpiece. It features essays by leading scholars, a chronology and a guide to further reading. The essays reveal alternative dimensions of Ellison's art radiating out from Invisible Man into other domains - technology, political theory, law, photography, music, religion - and recover the compelling urgency and relevance of Ellison's political and artistic vision. Since Ellison's death his published oeuvre has been expanded by several major volumes - his collected essays, the fragment of a novel, Juneteenth (1999), letters and short stories - examined here in the context of his life and work. Students and scholars of Ellison and of American and African-American literature will find this an invaluable and accessible guide.
Call Number: PS3555.L625 Z625 2005
Looking for Lorraine by Imani PerryLorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work-until now. In 2018, Hansberry will get the recognition she deserves with the PBS American Masters documentary "Lorraine Hansberry- Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart" and Imani Perry's multi-dimensional, illuminating biography, Looking for Lorraine. After the success of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry used her prominence in myriad ways- challenging President Kennedy and his brother to take bolder stances on Civil Rights, supporting African anti-colonial leaders, and confronting the romantic racism of the Beat poets and Village hipsters. Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation's first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. Looking for Lorraineis a powerful insight into Hansberry's extraordinary life-a life that was tragically cut far too short.
Student Companion to Richard Wright by Robert FelgarBorn in rural Mississippi, the grandson of slaves, Richard Wright overcame every social obstacle, including poverty, racism, and limited education to achieve literary recognition as the creator of some of America's most powerful Black literature. Written with unprecendented candor, Wright's works changed the cultural landscape by challenging old stereotypes and myths about race. Wright scholar Robert Felgar has written a critical volume to help students appreciate the literary significance of such groundbreaking works as Native Son and the autobiographical Black Boy. This study serves students of both literature and social history as it explores the themes of racism and all types of insitutionalized oppression that Wright exposed in his provocative writing. Felgar approaches each of Wright's major works in chronological order, offering insightful literary analysis of Uncle Tom's Children, Native Son, Black Boy, and The Outsider, as well as Wright's two works published posthumously, Eight Men, a collection of stories, and Lawd Today The original, censored works are discussed and compared with the more recently re-published unexpurgated versions. This Student Companion introduces readers to Richard Wright with a biographical chapter, recounting the writer's struggles and achievements. A literary heritage chapter examines the genres, themes, and stylistic traditions that figured in Wright's work. Each of Wright's major works of fiction is given careful literary interpretation, with analysis of plot, character development, thematic concerns and a close alternate reading. A selective bibliography of critical works and reviews, in addition to the listings of Wright's stories, essays and full-length works will help students derive the most from their study of this important American writer.
Publication Date: 2000
The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks by Gwendolyn Brooks; Elizabeth Alexander (Editor); Elizab Alexander (Editor)"If you wanted a poem," wrote Gwendolyn Brooks, "you only had to look out of a window. There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing." From the life of Chicago's South Side she made a forceful and passionate poetry that fused Modernist aesthetics with African-American cultural tradition, a poetry that registered the life of the streets and the upheavals of the 20th century. Starting with A Street in Bronzeville (1945), her epoch-making debut volume, The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks traces the full arc of her career in all its ambitious scope and unexpected stylistic shifts. "Her formal range," writes editor Elizabeth Alexander, "is most impressive, as she experiments with sonnets, ballads, spirituals, blues, full and off-rhymes. She is nothing short of a technical virtuoso." That technical virtuosity was matched by a restless curiosity about the life around her in all its explosive variety. By turns compassionate, angry, satiric, and psychologically penetrating, Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry retains its power to move and surprise. About the American Poets Project Elegantly designed in compact editions, printed on acid-free paper, and textually authoritative, the American Poets Project makes available the full range of the American poetic accomplishment, selected and introduced by today's most discerning poets and critics.
Publication Date: 2005
Ralph Ellison in Progress by Adam BradleyA major reassessment of Ralph Ellison's literary legacy that explores the mysteries surrounding his unfinished second novel Ralph Ellison may be the preeminent African-American author of the twentieth century, though he published only one novel, 1952's Invisible Man. He enjoyed a highly successful career in American letters, publishing two collections of essays, teaching at several colleges and universities, and writing dozens of pieces for newspapers and magazines, yet Ellison never published the second novel he had been composing for more than forty years. A 1967 fire that destroyed some of his work accounts for only a small part of the novel's fate; the rest is revealed in the thousands of pages he left behind after his death in 1994, many of them collected for the first time in the recently published Three Days Before the Shooting . . . . Ralph Ellison in Progress is the first book to survey the expansive geography of Ellison's unfinished novel while re-imaging the more familiar, but often misunderstood, territory of Invisible Man. It works from the premise that understanding Ellison's process of composition imparts important truths not only about the author himself but about race, writing, and American identity. Drawing on thousands of pages of Ellison's journals, typescripts, computer drafts, and handwritten notes, many never before studied, Adam Bradley argues for a shift in scholarly emphasis that moves a greater share of the weight of Ellison's literary legacy to the last forty years of his life and to the novel he left forever in progress.
Publication Date: 2012
Lorraine HansberryProvides in-depth analysis of the life, works, career, and critical importance of Lorraine Hansberry.
Publication Date: 1984-12-01
James Baldwin by Morris Dickstein (Editor); Salem Press EditorsAlthough James Baldwin today holds a secure position in the canon of twentieth-century literature, more than twenty years after his death, he still remains one of America's most evasive authors. The body of his work is wide-ranging, complex, and occasionally contradictory, the product of a mind in a tireless dialogue itself and its paradoxical and swiftly changing culture.