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Simple S Uncle Sam

Author: Langston Hughes
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 1466894873
Size: 32.72 MB
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Langston Hughes's most beloved character comes back to life in this extraordinary collection Langston Hughes is best known as a poet, but he was also a prolific writer of theater, autobiography, and fiction. None of his creations won the hearts and minds of his readers as did Jesse B. Semple, better known as "Simple." Simple speaks as an Everyman for African Americans in Uncle Sam's America. With great wit, he expounds on topics as varied as women, Gospel music, and sports heroes--but always keeps one foot planted in the realm of politics and race. In recent years, readers have been able to appreciate Simple's situational humor as well as his poignant questions about social injustice in The Best of Simple and The Return of Simple. Now they can, once again, enjoy the last of Hughes's original Simple books.

A Chance Meeting

Author: Rachel Cohen
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588363701
Size: 68.12 MB
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“They met in ordinary ways,” writes Rachel Cohen in her introduction, “a careful arrangement after long admiration, a friend’s casual introduction, or because they both just happened to be standing near the drinks. . . . They talked to each other for a few hours or for forty years, and later it seemed to them impossible that they could have missed each other.” Each chapter of this inventive consideration of American culture evokes an actual meeting between two historical figures. In 1854, Henry James, as a boy, goes with his father to have a daguerreotype made by Mathew Brady and is captured in a moment of self-consciousness about being American. Brady returns to photograph Walt Whitman and, later, at City Point in the midst of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant. Meanwhile, Henry James begins a lasting friendship with William Dean Howells, and also meets Sarah Orne Jewett, who in turn is a mentor to Willa Cather. Mark Twain publishes Grant’s memoirs; W.E.B. Du Bois and his professor William James visit the young Helen Keller; and Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz argue about photography. Later, Carl Van Vechten and Gertrude Stein, who was also a student of William James’s, attend a performance of The Rite of Spring; Hart Crane goes out on the town with Charlie Chaplin; Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston write a play together; Elizabeth Bishop takes Marianne Moore, who was photographed by both Van Vechten and Richard Avedon, to the circus; Avedon and James Baldwin collaborate on a book; John Cage and Marcel Duchamp play chess; and Norman Mailer and Robert Lowell march on the Pentagon in the anti–Vietnam War demonstration of 1967. The accumulation of these pairings draws the reader into the mysterious process through which creativity has been sparked and passed on among iconoclastic American writers and artists. Ultimately, Rachel Cohen reveals a long chain of friendship, rebellion, and influence stretching from the moment just before the Civil War through a century that had a profound effect on our own time. Drawing on a decade of research, A Chance Meeting makes its own illuminating contribution to the tradition of which Cohen writes. From the Hardcover edition.

F B Eyes

Author: William J. Maxwell
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400852064
Size: 68.30 MB
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Few institutions seem more opposed than African American literature and J. Edgar Hoover's white-bread Federal Bureau of Investigation. But behind the scenes the FBI's hostility to black protest was energized by fear of and respect for black writing. Drawing on nearly 14,000 pages of newly released FBI files, F.B. Eyes exposes the Bureau’s intimate policing of five decades of African American poems, plays, essays, and novels. Starting in 1919, year one of Harlem’s renaissance and Hoover’s career at the Bureau, secretive FBI "ghostreaders" monitored the latest developments in African American letters. By the time of Hoover’s death in 1972, these ghostreaders knew enough to simulate a sinister black literature of their own. The official aim behind the Bureau’s close reading was to anticipate political unrest. Yet, as William J. Maxwell reveals, FBI surveillance came to influence the creation and public reception of African American literature in the heart of the twentieth century. Taking his title from Richard Wright’s poem "The FB Eye Blues," Maxwell details how the FBI threatened the international travels of African American writers and prepared to jail dozens of them in times of national emergency. All the same, he shows that the Bureau’s paranoid style could prompt insightful criticism from Hoover’s ghostreaders and creative replies from their literary targets. For authors such as Claude McKay, James Baldwin, and Sonia Sanchez, the suspicion that government spy-critics tracked their every word inspired rewarding stylistic experiments as well as disabling self-censorship. Illuminating both the serious harms of state surveillance and the ways in which imaginative writing can withstand and exploit it, F.B. Eyes is a groundbreaking account of a long-hidden dimension of African American literature.

A Historical Guide To Langston Hughes

Author: Steven Carl Tracy
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780195144345
Size: 44.66 MB
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Langston Hughes has been an inspiration to generations of readers and writers seeking a passionate, intelligent, and socially responsible art. In this volume, Steven C. Tracy has gathered a broad range of critics to produce an interdisciplinary approach to the important historical and cultural elements reflected in Hughes's work. Their essays, all previously unpublished, place Hughes in the context of Harlem, his preferred geographical and spiritual home base, as well as the larger; political, social, musical, and artistic milieu of his rapidly changing times. They examine Hughes's negotiation of his own moral and ethical ground in a complex, sometimes hostile world, and demonstrate the remarkable triumph of a sensitive, creative human being who refused to be overwhelmed by the; forces of discrimination, pessimism, and bitterness that claimed so many writers of his generation. This volume, with its historical essays, brief biography, and illustrated chronology, provides a concise yet authoritative portrait of one of America's and the world's most beloved writers.

Not So Simple

Author: Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
ISBN: 0826260683
Size: 22.73 MB
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The "Simple" stories, Langston Hughes's satirical pieces featuring Harlem's Jesse B. Semple, have been lauded as Hughes's greatest contribution to American fiction. In Not So Simple, Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper provides the first full historical analysis of the Simple stories. Harper races the evolution and development of Simple from his 1943 appearance in Hughes's weekly Chicago Defender column through his 1965 farewell in the New York Post. Drawing on correspondence and manuscripts of the stories, Harper explores the development of the Simple collections, from Simple Speaks His Mind (1950) to Simple's Uncle Sam (1965), providing fresh and provocative perspectives on both Hughes and the characters who populate his stories. Harper discusses the nature of Simple, Harlem's "everyman", and the way in which Hughes used his character both to teach fellow Harlem residents about their connection to world events and to give black literature a hero whose "day-after-day heroism" would exemplify greatness. She explores the psychological, sociological, and literary meanings behind the Simple stories, and suggests ways in which the stories illustrate lessons of American history and political science. She also examines the roles played by women in these humorously ironic fiction. Ultimately, Hughes's attitudes as an author are measured against the views of other prominent African American writers. Demonstrating the richness and complexity of this Langston Hughes character and the Harlem he inhabited. Not So Simple makes an important contribution to the study of American literature.

The Collected Works Of Langston Hughes The Later Simple Stories

Author: Langston Hughes
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
ISBN: 9780826263797
Size: 68.10 MB
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For the first time in many years, Langston Hughes's published collections of stories are now available in a single book. Included in this volume are: Ways of White Folks, originally published in 1934; Laughing to Keep from Crying, originally published in 1952; and additional stories from Something in Common and Other Stories, originally published in 1963; as well as previously uncollected stories. These fictions, carefully crafted in the language Hughes loved, manifest the many themes for which he is best known. We meet and come to know many characters--black and white, young and old, men and women—all as believable as our own families, friends, and acquaintances. Hughes's stories portray people as they actually are: a mixture of good, bad, and much in-between. In these short stories, as in the Simple stories, the reader enjoys Hughes's humor and irony. The stories show us his inclination to mock himself and his beloved people, as much as he ridicules the flaws of those who belittle his race. His genuine characters interact and realistically bring to life this era of America's past. By maintaining the form and format of the original story collections, this volume presents Hughes's stories as he wanted them to be read. This volume will be an invaluable addition to the library of anyone interested in African American literature generally and the fiction of Langston Hughes specifically.

The Best Of Simple

Author: Langston Hughes
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 1466894865
Size: 61.14 MB
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Langston Hughes's stories about Jesse B. Semple--first composed for a weekly column in the Chicago Defender and then collected in Simple Speaks His Mind, Simple Takes a Wife, and Simple Stakes a Claim--have been read and loved by hundreds of thousands of readers. In The Best of Simple, the author picked his favorites from these earlier volumes, stories that not only have proved popular but are now part of a great and growing literary tradition. Simple might be considered an Everyman for black Americans. Hughes himself wrote: "...these tales are about a great many people--although they are stories about no specific persons as such. But it is impossible to live in Harlem and not know at least a hundred Simples, fifty Joyces, twenty-five Zaritas, and several Cousin Minnies--or reasonable facsimiles thereof." As Arnold Rampersad has written, Simple is "one of the most memorable and winning characters in the annals of American literature, justly regarded as one of Hughes's most inspired creations."

The Later Simple Stories

Author: Langston Hughes
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
ISBN: 9780826263841
Size: 57.91 MB
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In Volume 8 of The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, the genial Harlem everyman, Jesse B. Semple returns with his more cosmopolitan bar buddy, Ananias Boyd. Social climber Joyce Lane is now Mrs. Jesse B. Semple, and Simple has minimized his flirtatious contacts with other women. Despite these ongoing characters, the later Simple stories are very different from the earlier Simple tales. The later stories evoke the historical and social context within which they were written, a politically dangerous time for the fictional adventures and fantasies of the main characters. The Later Simple Stories returns to print Hughes's third and fourth Simple collections, Simple Stakes a Claim and Simple's Uncle Sam, along with some episodes Hughes did not include in any of his books. Simple Stakes a Claim was published in 1957, and it reflects the troubled and troublesome era of the Cold War and McCarthy hearings. Simple's Uncle Sam appeared in 1965, and it captures the turbulent decade when black Americans asserted their rights, including the privilege to call themselves "Black" and wear their hair in natural styles. The nonviolent strategies of civil disobedience and the violent strategies of urban rioting had converged to amplify African American voices as they demanded justice. The innocent humor of the earlier Simple stories is replaced here by new strengths. Remarkably powerful female characters emerge in this volume. We observe Cousin Minnie's self-preservation skills and her willingness to riot to defend her rights as a citizen. We read about Simple's cousin Lynn Clarisse, who is a social activist educated at Fisk University. And we see Joyce herself emerge from her prim niche to display pride and knowledge about her African heritage. The Later Simple Stories rounds out Hughes's presentation of Jesse B. Semple and the various people of his world. Simple and his foil still make us chuckle, but more important, they make us think. While these episodes often focus on particularities of the times, they also articulate broader truths that remain valuable.

The Return Of Simple

Author: Langston Hughes
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 9781429924092
Size: 28.68 MB
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Jesse B. Simple, Simple to his fans, made weekly appearances beginning in 1943 in Langston Hughes' column in the Chicago Defender. Simple may have shared his readers feelings of loss and dispossession, but he also cheered them on with his wonderful wit and passion for life.