The Collected Works of Langston Hughes: Essays on art, race, politics, and world affairs

Front Cover

Among the most prolific of American writers, Langston Hughes gained international attention and acclaim in nearly every genre of writing. While scholars and general readers have enjoyed relatively easy access to most of his writings, Hughes's work in one genre "the essay" has gone largely unnoticed. From his radical pieces praising revolutionary socialist ideology in the 1930s to the more conservative, previously unpublished "Black Writers in a Troubled World," which he wrote a year before his death, Hughes used the essay form as a vehicle through which to comment on the contemporary issues he found most pressing at various stages of his career.

Hughes generated some of his most powerful critiques of economic and racial exploitation and oppression through his masterful essays. It was the essay as a literary form that allowed Hughes to document the essential contributions made by African Americans to literature, music, film, and theater, and to chronicle the immense difficulties black artists faced in gaining recognition, fair remuneration, and professional advancement for these contributions. Finally, it was in certain essays that Hughes most fully represented the unique and endearing persona of the blues-poet-in-exile.

Many of the essays and other pieces of short nonfiction included in this volume have long been out of print and will be new to most readers. Through them, Langston Hughes reaffirmed a belief in the political potential of African American writers that remained consistent throughout his forty-six-year professional writing career: "Ours is a social as well as a literary responsibility." Such a belief resounds everywhere in this volume "a true testament of a man committed to the capabilities of language to generate social awareness and, ultimately, to compel social change."

 

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This was a really, really long book. It definitely took some commitment to finish it, more because it was a non fiction book, and there was no plot to distract me. However, I was able to get a clear ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Introduction
1
The PostWorld War II Episteme
11
The Year 1962 and the Spanish Postwar Years
30
The Years 19751979
51
The Years 19801984
103
The Years 19851989
153
Epilogue
235
Bibliography
245
Essays 19211929
23
Essays 19301939
45
Essays 19401949
207
Essays 19501959
294
Essays 19601967
384
Forewords Prefaces and Introductions to Edited Volumes
480
Reviews
530
Brief Tributes Letters to the Editor Miscellaneous Pieces
552

Index
263
Acknowledgments
ix
By Arnold Rampersad
xi
Introduction
1
A Note on the Text
19

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About the author (2001)

About the Editor
Christopher C. De Santis is Associate Professor of American and African American Literature at Illinois State University in Normal. He is also the editor of The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Volume 10, Fight for Freedom and Other Writings on Civil Rights.

About the Author
Langston Hughes was one of the most influential and prolific writers of the twentieth century.

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