The first collection ever assembled of the most distinctive, influential, and widely appreciated novels and short stories of the Harlem Renaissance, this anthology opens a window on one of the most extraordinary assertions of racial self-consciousness in Western literature. With an insightful introduction to provide historical context and a lucid biographical headnote about each of the authors, this volume brings together under one cover the Harlem Renaissance literature most widely taught. Short stories include "Sweat" (1926) and "The Gilded Six-Bits" (1933) by Zora Neale Hurston, Rudolph Fisher's "Miss Cynthie" (1933), and "The Blues I'm Playing" (1934) by Langston Hughes. The novels Home to Harlem (1928) by Claude McKay and Nella Larsen's Quicksand (1929) are featured in their entirety, along with major selections from Jean Toomer's Cane. Added features include a chapter from Wallace Thurman's Infants of the Spring (1932), a notorious roman a clef about the Harlem Renaissance, and Rudolph Fisher's half tongue-in-cheek "Introduction to Contemporary Harlemese, Expurgated and Abridged" (1928). For students and teachers alike, there can be no more effective or enjoyable way of exploring the intellectual concerns, the ideological perspectives, and the artistic innovations of the Harlem Renaissance.
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that had its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. It was a period that introduced several new African American writers to the literary scene, including luminaries like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jean Toomer. In this anthology, these writers are considered, along with less well-known ones like Rudolph Fisher and Wallace Thurman, with excerpts from their most famous works. In his introduction, editor Andrews (Univ. of Kansas) emphasizes the themes present in these classic works: ``the meaning of race, the legacy of the folk, the promise of modern life, the potential of art, the building of a nation.'' For another look at this creative explosion, see The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader ( LJ 3/15/94), an anthology featuring essays, poems, and stories. A good beginning for students of American literature.-- Ann Burns, ``Library Journal''