David Bradley is most noted for his novel The Chaneysville Incident, published when he was only thirty-one and hailed by some as the best novel written by an African American in the 1980’s.
Bradley grew up in Pennsylvania and was educated at the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., summa cum laude, 1972) and the University of London (M.A., 1974). After receiving his graduate degree Bradley accepted a position as an assistant editor for J. B. Lippincott Company. Meanwhile, he submitted to Viking Publishers a novel he wrote while in college, and in 1975 South Street was published. This work was inspired by Bradley’s acquaintanceship with black working-class folks who frequented a neighborhood bar he liked on Philadelphia’s South Street. The novel follows the fortunes of a newcomer to South Street, in the process chronicling the interwoven lives that make up its ghetto community. Bradley intended it, in part, as a response to what he saw as unfounded optimism among his college-age peers about the increase of power for African Americans. South Street was a critical success despite its short span in print. After its publication he was offered a faculty position at Temple University in Philadelphia, a position he held for the following two decades.
Bradley’s second novel, The Chaneysville Incident, led critics to laud him one as of the finest African American novelists of his generation. This story of a black man’s quest to uncover the...
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