Synopses & Reviews
A finalist for the 1972 National Book Award, hailed by The New York Times Book Review
as "brilliant" and "provocative," Nathan Huggins' Harlem Renaissance
is a milestone in the study of African-American life and culture.
A superb portrait of one of the signal episodes in African-American and American history, this volume offers a brilliant account of the creative explosion in Harlem during these pivotal years. Blending the fields of history, literature, music, psychology, and folklore, Huggins illuminates the thought and writing of such key figures as Alain Locke, James Weldon Johnson, and W.E.B. DuBois and provides sharp-eyed analyses of the poetry of Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes. But the main objective for Huggins, throughout the book, is always to achieve a better understanding of America as a whole. As Huggins himself noted, he didn't want Harlem in the 1920s to be the focus of the book so much as a lens through which readers might see how this one moment in time sheds light on the American character and culture, not just in Harlem but across the nation. He strives throughout to link the work of poets and novelists not only to artists working in other genres and media but also to economic, historical, and cultural forces in the culture at large.
"A significant contribution to cultural history....Huggins amply demonstrates [that] black and white culture and self-image in America are inextricably linked as one."--Robert Sklar, Journal of American History
"Still the most richly textured introduction to the diversity of voices in the Harlem Renaissance."--Susan Stanford Friedman, University of Wisconsin at Madison
"One of the most important volumes of intellectual history ever written about the episode in African-American life in the twentieth century."--Lamont H. Yeakey, Black Forum
A convincing historical assessment of the period, roughly the 1920's, when a considerable flowering of literary and other arts occurred among black Americans. It does not shy away from encompassing and attempting to explain the often contradictory aspects of the Black psyche and behavior.
About the Author
Nathan Irvin Huggins
was W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of History and Afro-American Studies and Director of the Du Bois Institute at Harvard University until his death in 1989. His books include Slave and Citizen: The Life of Frederick Douglass, Black Odyssey: The African-American Ordeal in Slavery
, and Voices From the Harlem Renaissance