Hughes, Langston. (1902 - 1967).
L i f e
- of a complex racial origin
- underwent a series of various jobs, worked as a busboy in Washington D.C. when V. Lindsay launched his literary career by publicising him in local papers
- supported himself after college by conducting a reading tour, travelled the US, Russia, China, and Japan, and asked to participate in a film to be shot in Russia x but: the film never made
W o r k
- the 1st Afro-American to achieve an international reputation
- a versatile personality: a poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, editor of Afro-American anthologies, author of autobiography, biographies, histories, journalistic writing, and translations
- also wrote librettos, film scripts, songs, and children’s books
- drew on folk songs, folktales, and the rhythms of blues and jazz
- introduced the ‘Blues Stanza’ = any number of stanzas rhymed AAa BBb, includes a lot of improvisation on the theme of hard life, in the tradition of lamenting and complaining: problematic relationships, alcohol, drugs, etc.
P o e t r y :
The Weary Blues (1926):
- a collection of poems celebrating the black culture and jazz music
P r o s e :
Not Without Laughter (1930):
- a novel on the everyday Afro-American life
The Ways of White Folks (1934):
- a collection of short stories
‘The Simple Series’:
> Simple Speaks His Mind (1950), Simple Takes a Wife (1952), and The Best of Simple (1961)
- his major work, a series of character vignettes and sketches for a journal
- the central character = the humorous and street-wise Harlem worker Jesse B. Simple
- comments on contemporary issues, and communicates his opinions to an educated black narrator
I Wonder as I Wander (1956):
- an autobiographical account of his childhood and travels
D r a m a :
- a successful play performed on Broadway
AuthorLangston Hughes. (1902 - 1967). African-American.
WorkNovelist. Short story writer. Poet. Playwright. Figure of the Harlem Renaissance.
GenresBlues poetry. Afro-American topics.
Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.
Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.
McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.
"I swear to the Lord / I still can't see / Why Democracy means / Everybody but me".
From "The Black Man Speaks".