The Chicago Renaissance Criticism: Major Authors - Essay

Robert E. Fleming (essay date fall 1973)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fleming, Robert E. “Overshadowed by Richard Wright: Three Black Chicago Novelists.” Negro American Literature Forum 7, no. 3 (fall 1973): 75-9.

[In the following essay, Fleming writes about the work of Waters E. Turpin, Alden Bland, and Frank London Brown, three black novelists who, according to Fleming have written significant works about Chicago.]

Inevitably, when one thinks of the black writer's depiction of American city life, he is likely to think first of Richard Wright's Chicago—the cold, snowy city through which Bigger Thomas flees in Native Son, the city from which Cross Damon escapes in The Outsider, the frustrating home of Jake...

(The entire section is 3823 words.)

Patricia A. D'Itri (essay date 1976)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: D'Itri, Patricia A. “Richard Wright in Chicago: Three Novels that Represent a Black Spokesman's Quest for Self Identity.” Midwestern Miscellany 4 (1976): 26-33.

[In the following essay, D'Itri cites Wright's first three novels as examples of works that address the progression of self-awareness in the life of black Americans.]

Richard Wright is most widely recognized as a literary spokesman for the alienated Afro-American. His first three novels treat a progression of self awareness in the Black American's stultified existence. Transplanted from the south to Chicago, the culturally deprived male protagonists stand outside the social mainstream and view the...

(The entire section is 4224 words.)

Richard K. Barksdale (essay date 1986)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Barksdale, Richard K. “Margaret Walker: Folk Orature and Historical Prophecy.” In Black American Poets Between Worlds, 1940-1960, edited by R. Baxter Miller, pp. 104-17. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986.

[In the following essay, Barksdale writes that Walker's poetry is characterized by a sensitivity to ordinary, urban, American life, in contrast to the writing of many contemporaries, such as Robert Hayden or Melvin Tolson, whose work appears much more influenced by academia.]

Like Robert Hayden and Melvin Tolson, Margaret Walker has written her poetry in the shadow of the academy. Both of her advanced degrees from the University of Iowa—the...

(The entire section is 5008 words.)

Lisa Woolley (essay date 1996)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Woolley, Lisa. “From Chicago Renaissance to Chicago Renaissance: The Poetry of Fenton Johnson.” Langston Hughes Review 14, no. 1-2 (1996): 36-48.

[In the following essay, Woolley uses the writing of Fenton Johnson as an example of the way in which authors and writing concerns illustrated an interdependency across cities and races, particularly in relation to the Harlem Renaissance and the Chicago School of writing.]

The use of the word “renaissance” in the literary history of early twentieth-century America nearly reverses the connotation of that term as it pertains to Europe. The New York Little Renaissance, Southern Renaissance, Chicago Renaissance,...

(The entire section is 5903 words.)