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Research Guides

AFST/ENGL 329 (African American Literature Pre-1930) - Ira Dworkin - Fall 2018


Books of Interest

Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave

A narrative of the experiences of fugitive slave, William W. Brown of his time spent as a slave and his escape. Written by William Brown.

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature - Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Organized chronologically, this anthology of African-American literature brings together the work of 123 writers from 1746 to the present. This second edition features a varied selection of genres and a wealth of vernacular forms.

Up from Slavery - Booker T Washington

Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his personal experiences in working to rise from the position of a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools-most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama-to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves, as a race, up by the bootstraps. 

Contending Forces - Pauline E. Hopkins

Published in 1900, this is Hopkins's best-known novel, and her only fiction to be published in book form in her lifetime. Like her magazine fiction, it allies the conventions of the sentimental novel with the goal of effecting social change. A uniquely detailed examination of black life, and a richly textured piece of fiction, it is one of the most important works produced by an Afro-American before the First World War.

Passing - Nella Larsen

Larsen's status as a Harlem Renaissance woman writer was rivaled by only Zora Neale Hurston's. This Norton Critical Edition of her electrifying 1929 novel includes Carla Kaplan's detailed and thought-provoking introduction, thorough explanatory annotations, and a Note on the Text.An unusually rich "Background and Contexts" section connects the novel to the historical events of the day, most notably the sensational Rhinelander/Jones case of 1925. Fourteen contemporary reviews are reprinted, including those by Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Mary Griffin, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Published accounts from 1911 to 1935--by Langston Hughes, Juanita Ellsworth, and Caleb Johnson, among others--provide a nuanced view of the contemporary cultural dimensions of race and passing, both in America and abroad. Also included are Larsen's statements on the novel and on passing, as well as a generous selection of her letters and her central writings on "The Tragic Mulatto(a)" in American literature. Additional perspective is provided by related Harlem Renaissance works."Criticism" provides fifteen diverse critical interpretations, including those by Mary Helen Washington, Cheryl A. Wall, Deborah E. McDowell, David L. Blackmore, Kate Baldwin, and Catherine Rottenberg.A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), the first black American to publish a book, was internationally famous during her short life. This edition, with an essay by the editor, restores her to her proper place in America's literary heritage.