Rudolph Fisher Criticism - Essay

Oliver Louis Henry (essay date 1971)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Rudolph Fisher: An Evaluation," in Crisis, Vol. 78, No. 5, July 1971, pp. 149-54.

[In the following essay, Henry argues that Fisher's literary merits should be judged by his short stories, which show a keen attention to race and class consciousness.]

Class consciousness is perhaps the single most consistent theme found in Fisher's work. He was extremely aware of the class and color distinctions present in the black community, especially the Harlem community, the locale of most of his stories. And almost the entire body of his material deals with the interaction of the various social types and groups present in that community. What makes Fisher so appealing is...

(The entire section is 3726 words.)

John McCluskey, Jr. (essay date 1981)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "'Aim High and Go Straight': The Grandmother Figure in the Short Fiction of Rudolph Fisher," in Black American Literature Forum, Vol. 15, No. 2, Summer, 1981, pp. 55-9.

[In the following essay, McCluskey examines Fisher's use of the grandmother figureoften in combination with music and religionas a healing agent for African Americans new to city life.]

To conceive the Harlem Renaissance, a cluster of sociocultural concerns and often over-publicized activities, without regard to the migration of thousands from the rural South and the West Indies is to reduce the Harlem era to a sputtering debate in aesthetics and social history. With...

(The entire section is 5406 words.)

John McCluskey, Jr. (essay date 1982)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Healing Songs: Secular Music in the Short Fiction of Rudolph Fisher," in CLA Journal, Vol. 26, No. 2, December 1982, pp. 191-203.

[In the following essay, McCluskey argues that Fisher transplants folk vernacular, through music, to the urban setting, and incorporates it into his stories where it serves as both a framing device and a refrain.]

In the preface to the first edition of the Book of American Negro Poetry, published in 1921, James W. Johnson insisted that the black American poet find a form "that will express the racial spirit by symbols from within rather than symbols from without, such as the mere mutilation of English spelling and...

(The entire section is 4204 words.)

Eleanor Q. Tignor (essay date 1982)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Short Fiction of Rudolph Fisher," in Langston Hughes Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring, 1982, pp. 18-24.

[In the following essay, Tignor traces the principal themes, character types, and settings in Fisher's short fiction.]

In 1925, Rudolph Fisher broke into the predominantly white publishing world with his short story "City of Refuge," a triumph commented upon in this letter from Arna Bontemps:

I saw and talked with Rudolph Fisher frequently between the date of publication of his story "City of Refuge" in the Atlantic Monthly and August 1931 when I left New York. Earlier Countee Cullen had told me that someone had...

(The entire section is 2706 words.)

John McCluskey, Jr. (essay date 1987)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Introduction," in The City of Refuge, The Collected Stories of Rudolph Fisher, University of Missouri Press, 1987, pp. xi-xxxix.

[In the following excerpt, McCluskey suggests that Fisher's short stories explore the tension arising between arriving African Americans and the modern city.]

The short fiction of Dr. Rudolph "Bud" Fisher might be neatly categorized for presentation to a contemporary audience, but like all categories these would be merely for convenience, for the noting of emphases. In this volume, I have grouped the short fiction into two movements—"The Quest" and "The New Land." The first movement offers portraits that treat first or early...

(The entire section is 3478 words.)

Margaret Perry (essay date 1987)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Fisher of Black Life: Short Stories by Rudolph Fisher," in The Harlem Renaissance Re-examined, AMS Press, 1987, pp. 253-62.

[In the following essay, Perry observes that Fisher was a satirist and social historian whose stories were traditional in stylein the mode of Poe, Gogol and Jamesyet were still able to capture the spirit of Harlem.]

(The entire section is 4423 words.)