My immediate reaction to these poems was in astonishment at how these masterfully woven stories stirred my soul with their deep meaning and emotion.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: It was dismissed by some as being little more than a descriptive travelogue or glorified sociology, lacking the literary ambition befitting a novel.
Even Carl Van Vechten, in his preface to the second edition published inadmits to mining the novel for sociological data.
While Van Vechten and others rightly praised the book for its unflinching and artfully drawn portraits of black life of various stripes throughout the South and North, the book in many ways was also quite a literary achievement.
Not surprising, given that its author was already a student of literary theory, as well as a poet of merit, and went on to become a canonical critic of black culture. The focus of this paper will be the ways in which the novel addresses concerns that Johnson himself had concerning the artistic nature and cultural meaning of black music.
In this regard, Johnson struck a prophetic chord when he created the nameless protagonist of his novel. The ex-colored man aborted his attempt to answer a call to arms of black artists and musicians that had not yet been made formally in the real world.
This call, both in the historic world of the Harlem Renaissance and in the fictional world created by Johnson in his novel, ostensibly looks like a black nationalist project designed to "bring glory to the race" or to at least "uplift" it from ignominy and neglect.
As I read it, however, The Autobiography reveals a mulatto-centered, American nationalism, as much as it does a black nationalism. Rather than making a case for black liberation, ultimately the novel argues for a race blind America whose progressiveness and strength is to be measured by its success in blending the gifts of its various "races" into a democratic, national culture.
I The many roles that James Weldon Johnson held in his tragically-shortened, but prolific life, educator, journalist, political activist, diplomat, creative writer, literary critic, musician, and composer, all inform his masterful text, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.
He was a man both knowledgeable about and active in politics, in which he was engaged through a variety of roles. He campaigned in the electoral process, worked as government official on the one hand, and as organizer, agitator, and as protestor on the other. He was equally prolific as an intellectual and artist as he was as an explicitly political figure.
A leader in the Harlem Renaissance, he was an accomplished poet and literary critic. His literary talents for a season were put to use as part of the highly successful team of writers of musical comedies, "Bob You are not currently authenticated. View freely available titles:In his poem "O Black and Unknown Bards," which serves as an epigraph to his preface, Johnson praises the originators of the spirituals, though he claims they "jes grew." In Singing Johnson he has placed a name on at least one black bard.
Unknown Bards discusses the CD American Primitives, Vol. II and two must read books, In Search of the Blues: The White Invention of Black Music by Marybeth Hamilton and Escaping The Delta: Robert Johnson, and the Invention of the Blues by Elijah Wald.
When one of the most successful authors on the planet takes the time to talk about something you did, I figure that deserves an in depth response.
↑Entries from December 18, — Books, Books, and More Books. I have at last received a sheaf of recently published Hippocampus Press books, as follows.
COMMUNIQUE #3 Haymarket Issue "I NEED ONLY MENTION in passing that there is a curious reappearance of the Catfish tradition in the popular Godzilla cycle of films which arose after the nuclear chaos unleashed upon Japan.
The medieval word for a Poet was a Maker, which indeed is the original meaning of a Poet. It is one of the points, more numerous than some suppose, in which Greek and medieval simplicity nearly touch.