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Dunbar, Paul Laurence. (1872 - 1906).

W o r k

- supported by his mentor W. D. Howells (claimed he did not care his parents were born slaves in his review), acquainted with F. Douglass, B. T. Washington, and W. E. B. du Bois

- became famous

P o e t r y :

Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896):

(a) in the Afro-American dialect:

- gifted in poetry in using the dialect to convey the character <=> the way M. Twain in prose

(b) in traditional poetic forms:

“Frederick Douglass”:

- ode

“The Haunted Oak”:

- ballad

“We Wear the Mask”:

- on the cruel fate of his people

P r o s e :

The Strength of Gideon and Other Stories (1900):

- a collection of short stories

The Uncalled (1898):

- a semi-autobiographical novel

The Sport of the Gods (1902):

- the only of his four novels focusing on the black man’s experience

- a naturalistic portrayal of the break-up of a black family driven to the urban North after a wrongful accusation of crime


"We sing, but oh the clay is vile / Beneath our feet, and long the mile; / But let the world dream otherwise, / We wear the mask"!

From "We Wear the Mask".


(Photo: Famous Poets & Poems com).

  • Author

    Paul Laurence Dunbar. (1872 - 1906). African-American.
  • Work

    Poet. Novelist. Short story writer. Author of black dialect poems.
  • Genres

    Dialect poetry. Traditional poetry. Fiction.


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.


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