Arna Bontemps—Langston Hughes Letters (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
Lately, there has been a fascinating trend in publishing circles. More and more firms are showing an interest in releasing the collected letters of famous writers. Possibly, it is due only to a feeling that presently this is good business, since the public recently has shown so much interest in the confessional side of the arts. One can hope, however, that there is more behind the trend. Perhaps it is not out of the question that there does now exist a growing reading public which has discovered how much their understanding of an artist and his work may be enriched through this kind of book.
Of the current group of such books, the one which contains the letters exchanged between Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes may be the most significant. Not only can it enrich one’s understanding of two of the foremost Afro-American writers, but it also can provide one with new insights into both the hostile social and political background against which they had to struggle in the United States, and the rich cultural tradition which they exemplified and encouraged both here in their country and in other parts of the world. In other words, their letters ultimately come to represent not only their personal legacy but also that of an oppressed minority fighting for a distinctive and free voice.
When these two men first met in 1924, they were struck by...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
Berry, Faith. Langston Hughes: Before and Beyond Harlem. New York: Wings Books, 1995.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Langston Hughes. New York: Chelsea House, 1989.
Chinitz, David. “Rejuvenation Through Joy: Langston Hughes, Primitivism, and Jazz.” American Literary History 9 (Spring, 1997): 60-78.
Cooper, Floyd. Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes. New York: Philomel Books, 1994.
Harper, Donna Sullivan. Not So Simple: The “Simple” Stories by Langston Hughes. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1995.
Haskins, James. Always Movin’ On: The Life of Langston Hughes. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1993.
Hokanson, Robert O’Brien. “Jazzing It Up: The Be-bop Modernism of Langston Hughes.” Mosaic 31 (December, 1998): 61-82.
Leach, Laurie F. Langston Hughes: A Biography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.
Mullen, Edward J., ed. Critical Essays on Langston Hughes. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1986.
Ostrum, Hans A. A Langston Hughes Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes. 2 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Tracy, Steven C., ed. A Historical Guide to Langston...
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