Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance

Five Novels of the 1920s

Book - 2011
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Five Novels of the 1920s leads off with Jean Toomer's Cane (1923), a unique fusion of fiction, poetry, and drama rooted in Toomer's experiences as a teacher in Georgia. Recognized on publication as a groundbreaking work of literary modernism, Toomer's masterpiece was followed within a few years by a cluster of novels exploring black experience and the dilemmas of black identity in a variety of modes and from different angles. Claude McKay's Home to Harlem (1928), whose free-wheeling, impressionistic, bawdy kaleidoscope of Jazz Age nightlife made it a best seller, traces the picaresque adventures of Jake, a World War I veteran, within and beyond Harlem. Nell Larsen's Quicksand (1928), the poignant, nuanced psychological portrait of a woman caught between the two worlds of her mixed Scandinavian and African American heritage; Jessie Redmon Fauset's Plum Bun (1928), the richly detailed account of a young art student's struggles to advance her career in a society full of obstacles both overt and insidiously concealed; and Wallace Thurman's The Blacker the Berry (1929), with its anguished, provocative look at prejudice and exclusion as it tells of a new arrival in Harlem searching for love, each in its distinct way testifies to the enduring power of the Harlem ferment. Often controversial in their own day for opening up new realms of subject matter (including intergenerational conflict and color prejudice within the African American community) and language (infusing a wealth of argot and previously unheard voices into American fiction), these novels continue to surprise by their passion, their unblinking observation, their lively play of ideas, and their irreverent humor.
In little more than a decade during the 1920s and 30s, a new generation of African American writers, artists, musicians, and intellectuals based mostly in upper Manhattan burst through aesthetic conventions with unprecedented openness and daring. Perhaps no one was more central to the creative upheaval that became known as the Harlem Renaissance than a group of novelists who were determined to describe their own lives and their own world frankly and without compromise. Now, for the first time in this definitive two-volume set, their greatest works are presented in a handsome collector's edition featuring authoritative texts and a chronology, biographies, and notes reflecting the latest scholarship. Together, the nine works in Harlem Renaissance Novels form a vibrant and contentious collective portrait of African American culture in a moment of tumultuous change and tremendous hope. "In some places the autumn of 1924 may have been an unremarkable season," wrote Arna Bontemps, one of the novelists in the collection."In Harlem it was like a foretaste of paradise."
Publisher: New York : Library of America, c2011.
ISBN: 9781598530995
1598530992
Branch Call Number: HARLEM SS
Characteristics: 867 p. ; 21 cm.

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