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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft



I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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Collected Works of Langston Hughes #08: The Later Simple Stories

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Collected Works of Langston Hughes #08: The Later Simple Stories Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Volume 8 of The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, the genial Harlem everyman, Jesse B. Semple returns with his more cosmopolitan bar buddy, Ananias Boyd. Social climber Joyce Lane is now Mrs. Jesse B. Semple, and Simple has minimized his flirtatious contacts with other women. Despite these ongoing characters, the later Simple stories are very different from the earlier Simple tales. The later stories evoke the historical and social context within which they were written, a politically dangerous time for the fictional adventures and fantasies of the main characters.

The Later Simple Stories returns to print Hughes's third and fourth Simple collections, Simple Stakes a Claim and Simple's Uncle Sam, along with some episodes Hughes did not include in any of his books. Simple Stakes a Claim was published in 1957, and it reflects the troubled and troublesome era of the Cold War and McCarthy hearings. Simple's Uncle Sam appeared in 1965, and it captures the turbulent decade when black Americans asserted their rights, including the privilege to call themselves "Black" and wear their hair in natural styles. The nonviolent strategies of civil disobedience and the violent strategies of urban rioting had converged to amplify African American voices as they demanded justice.

The innocent humor of the earlier Simple stories is replaced here by new strengths. Remarkably powerful female characters emerge in this volume. We observe Cousin Minnie's self-preservation skills and her willingness to riot to defend her rights as a citizen. We read about Simple's cousin Lynn Clarisse, who is a social activist educated at Fisk University. And we see Joyce herself emerge from her prim niche to display pride and knowledge about her African heritage.

The Later Simple Stories rounds out Hughes's presentation of Jesse B. Semple and the various people of his world. Simple and his foil still make us chuckle, but more important, they make us think. While these episodes often focus on particularities of the times, they also articulate broader truths that remain valuable.

Synopsis:

Nearly a century after his birth in Joplin, Missouri, Langston Hughes is, in a sense, coming home. The University of Missouri Press is proud to announce the publication of The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, a compilation of the novels, short stories, poems, plays, and essays by one of the twentieth century's most prolific and influential African American authors. The seventeen-volume series will make available Hughes's most famous works as well as less well known and out-of-print selections, providing readers and libraries with a comprehensive source for the first time.

Hughes moved to Harlem in the 1920s and ultimately became the most prominent figure in the literary, artistic, and intellectual phenomenon known as the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes wrote articles for The Crisis and in 1926 published his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues. Over the decades until his death in 1967, he became one of the best-known and most versatile American writers of the twentieth century. His creative range — poetry, novels, short fiction, drama, translations, gospel-song plays, libretti, juvenile fiction, radio and television scripts, history, biography, and autobiography — is unique in American letters.

The seventeen volumes of the Collected Works are to be published with the goal that Hughes pursued throughout his lifetime: making his books available to the people. Each volume will include a biographical and literary chronology by Arnold Rampersad, as well as an introduction by a Hughes scholar. The volume introductions will provide contextual and historical information on the particular work.

In Volume 8, Jesse B. Semple returns with his more cosmopolitan bar buddy, Ananias Boyd. Socialclimber Joyce Lane is now Mrs. Jesse B. Semple, and Simple has minimized his flirtatious contacts with other women. Despite these ongoing characters, the later Simple stories are very different from the earlier Simple tales, evoking the historical and social context within which they were written.

The Later Simple Stories returns to print Hughes's third and fourth Simple collections, Simple Stakes a Claim and Simple's Uncle Sam, along with some episodes Hughes did not include in any of his books. Simple Stakes a Claim reflects the troubled and troublesome era of the Cold War and McCarthy hearings. Simple's Uncle Sam captures the turbulent decade when black Americans asserted their rights.

The innocent humor of the earlier Simple stories is replaced here by new strengths. Remarkably powerful female characters emerge in this volume. We observe Cousin Minnie's self-preservation skills and her willingness to riot to defend her rights as a citizen. We read about Simple's cousin Lynn Clarisse, who is a social activist educated at Fisk University. And we see Joyce herself emerge from her prim niche to display pride and knowledge about her African heritage.

The Later Simple Stories rounds out Hughes's presentation of Jesse B. Semple and the various people of his world. While these episodes often focus on particularities of the times, they also articulate broader truths that remain valuable.

About the Author

Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper is Professor of English at Spelman College in Atlanta. She is the author of Not So Simple: The "Simple" Stories by Langston Hughes and the editor of The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Volume 7, The Early Simple Stories.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780826214096
Editor:
Harper, Donna Akiba Sullivan
Author:
Harper, Donna Akiba Sullivan
Author:
Hughes, Langston
Author:
Harper, Donna A.
Publisher:
University of Missouri Press
Location:
Columbia, Mo.
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Simple
Subject:
African American men
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1
Series:
COLLECTED WORK LANGSTON HUGHES
Series Volume:
08
Publication Date:
20020631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » African American » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » African American » Historical

Collected Works of Langston Hughes #08: The Later Simple Stories Used Hardcover
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Product details 368 pages University of Missouri Press - English 9780826214096 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Nearly a century after his birth in Joplin, Missouri, Langston Hughes is, in a sense, coming home. The University of Missouri Press is proud to announce the publication of The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, a compilation of the novels, short stories, poems, plays, and essays by one of the twentieth century's most prolific and influential African American authors. The seventeen-volume series will make available Hughes's most famous works as well as less well known and out-of-print selections, providing readers and libraries with a comprehensive source for the first time.

Hughes moved to Harlem in the 1920s and ultimately became the most prominent figure in the literary, artistic, and intellectual phenomenon known as the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes wrote articles for The Crisis and in 1926 published his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues. Over the decades until his death in 1967, he became one of the best-known and most versatile American writers of the twentieth century. His creative range — poetry, novels, short fiction, drama, translations, gospel-song plays, libretti, juvenile fiction, radio and television scripts, history, biography, and autobiography — is unique in American letters.

The seventeen volumes of the Collected Works are to be published with the goal that Hughes pursued throughout his lifetime: making his books available to the people. Each volume will include a biographical and literary chronology by Arnold Rampersad, as well as an introduction by a Hughes scholar. The volume introductions will provide contextual and historical information on the particular work.

In Volume 8, Jesse B. Semple returns with his more cosmopolitan bar buddy, Ananias Boyd. Socialclimber Joyce Lane is now Mrs. Jesse B. Semple, and Simple has minimized his flirtatious contacts with other women. Despite these ongoing characters, the later Simple stories are very different from the earlier Simple tales, evoking the historical and social context within which they were written.

The Later Simple Stories returns to print Hughes's third and fourth Simple collections, Simple Stakes a Claim and Simple's Uncle Sam, along with some episodes Hughes did not include in any of his books. Simple Stakes a Claim reflects the troubled and troublesome era of the Cold War and McCarthy hearings. Simple's Uncle Sam captures the turbulent decade when black Americans asserted their rights.

The innocent humor of the earlier Simple stories is replaced here by new strengths. Remarkably powerful female characters emerge in this volume. We observe Cousin Minnie's self-preservation skills and her willingness to riot to defend her rights as a citizen. We read about Simple's cousin Lynn Clarisse, who is a social activist educated at Fisk University. And we see Joyce herself emerge from her prim niche to display pride and knowledge about her African heritage.

The Later Simple Stories rounds out Hughes's presentation of Jesse B. Semple and the various people of his world. While these episodes often focus on particularities of the times, they also articulate broader truths that remain valuable.

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