Tuesday 30 July 2013

Reading list for AMER20492 Twentieth Century African American Literature

Twentieth Century African American Literature


Primary Texts may include:


WE.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (

James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye



You are encouraged to read round as much as possible (see suggested reading). It is important that you keep up with the reading as the material will become more difficult as the semester progresses. Don't worry if some texts/ critical reading seems hard at first but you will get a better grasp of the theory if you read more than the minimum requirement.  Remember to supplement your reading with journals. You will find African American Review and Callaloo (the two premier journals in the field) available via JSTOR.


You should also check out Literature Online (which you can access from off campus):

You will find lots of useful information for this unit under the following headings:

1) 1900-present: Twentieth-Century Literature

e.g. African-American Poetry of the Twentieth Century [202 volumes by 78 authors],


2) Criticism

  • Full-Text Journals (369 journals)
  • New Essays on the American Novel (Cambridge University Press) [38 volumes, including Invisible Man]
  • Cambridge Companions to Literature (Cambridge University Press) [218 volumes, including several on African American Literature]


3) Reference Works

e.g. The Handbook of African American Literature


Some Key Books to get you started…


Andrews, William. L. et. al. The Oxford Companion to African-American Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). Very useful entries and brief essays on African American Literary history and culture.

Ervian, Arnett. the Handbook of African American Literature (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004). A-Z of 415 literary terms, ages, movements & cultural sources & 8 full length essays.

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (New York: Norton, 2004). Superb anthology of African American literature.

Graham, Maryemma. The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Useful essays on themes: passing, the Protest novel, the Blues novel. Includes chapters on Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and others.

Jarrett, Gene. A Companion to African American Literature (Chichester: Wiley-

            Blackwell, 2010). A series of essays that explore the forms, themes,

            genres, historical contexts, major authors, and latest critical

            approaches, this book presents a comprehensive chronological

            overview of African American literature from the 18th century to

            the modern day.

Jones, LeRoi [Amiri Baraka], and Larry Neal, eds. Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-

            American Writing, 1968. (new edition has been ordered).

Mitchell, Angelyn. Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994). A key anthology which presents the entire spectrum of twentieth-century African American literary and cultural criticism. It begins with the Harlem Renaissance, continues through civil rights, the Black Arts Movement, and on into contemporary debates of poststructuralist and black feminist theory

Warren, Warren, What Was African American Literature? (Cambridge: Harvard

            University Press, 2012) A provocative and engaging book.


Useful Secondary Reading

Awkward, Michael. Negotiating Difference: Race, Gender and the Politics of Positionality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. A very engaging book on themes from black men in feminism and Michael Jackson.

Baker, Houston. Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1987).

------. Afro-American Poetics: Revisions of Harlem and the Black Aesthetic (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988).

------. Blues, Ideology and Afro-American Literature: A Vernacular Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).

Battle, Michael. The Black Church in America: African American Christian Spirituality (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006).

Birch, Eva Lennox. Black American Women's Writing (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994).

Borstelmann, Thomas, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations

            in the Global Arena. Cambridge, MA (Harvard University Press, 2001).

Carby, Hazel. Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Novelist (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).

Christian, Barabara. Black Women Novelists: The Development of a Tradition, 1892-1976 (Westport:  Greenwood Press, 1976).

Cleaver, Eldridge. Soul on Ice (New York: Ramparts, 1968). Cleaver was a key member of the Black Panthers. This is a controversial about important book. Includes a vicious attack on James Baldwin.

------. Post-Prison Writings and Speeches (London: Cape, 1969).

Cook, Robert. Sweet Land of Liberty? the African-American Struggle for Civil Rights in the Twentieth Century ( Harlow: Longman, 1999).

Cooke, Michael G. Afro-American Literature in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984).

Cooper, Anthony, ed. the Black Experience, 1865-1978 (Dartford: Greenwich University Press, 1995). Excellent resource with key relevant documents concerning African American history and politics.

Early, Gerald, ed. Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation (London: Allen Lane, 1993).

Edwards, Brent Hayes, The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation and the

            Rise of Black Internationalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2003). Key work on the internationalization of the Harlem Renaissance.

Emmanuel, James A., and Theodore Gross, eds. Dark Symphony: Negro Literature in America (New York: Free Press, 1968). 

Fabi, Giulia. Passing and the Rise of the African American Novel (Urbana, Ill. University of Illinois Press, 2001). Includes a chapter on The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.

Fabre, Genevieve, ed. History and Memory in African-American Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

Franklin, John, and Alfred A. Moss ( From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. New York: McGraw Hill, 1994).

Garcia, Jay. Psychology Comes to Harlem: Rethinking the Race Questions in  Twentieth Century America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). Includes a chapter on Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son and a discussion of Richard Wright.

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., ed. "Race," Writing, and Difference (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).

------.The Signifying Monkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).

------., ed. Black Literature and Literary Theory (New York: Routledge, 1990).

------., ed. Reading Black, Reading Feminist: A Critical Anthology (New York : Meridian Book 1990).

------. Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

Ginsberg, Elaine K., ed. Passing and the Fictions of Identity (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996).

Gussow, Adam. Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2002). Includes a discussion of Zora Neale Hurston.

Hakutani, Yoshinobu, and Robert Butler. The City in African-American Literature (London: Associated University Press, 1995).

Hakutani, Yoshinobu. Cross-Cultural Visions in African American Modernism: from Spatial Narrative to Jazz Haiku. Colombus: Ohio State University Press, 2006. Includes a discussion of James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison.

Harris-Lopez, Trudier. South of Tradition: Essays on African American Literature (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002).

Jackson, Lawrence P. The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960 (Princeton University Press, 2012).

Superb history of African American writers, organizations and magazines

Jones, Gayl. Liberating Voices: Oral Tradition in African American Literature (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1991).

Jones, Leroi (Amiri Baraka). Home: Social Essays (New Jersey: Ecco Press, 1966). Provocative Essays in the civil rights era/ Black Arts Movement.

King, Lovalerie. A Students' Guide to African American Literature, 1760 to the Present (New York: Peter Lang, 2003).

Lane, Christopher, ed. The Psychoanalysis of Race (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998).

Margolick, David. Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society (Edinburgh: Pay Back Press, 2001).

Moynihan, Sinéad. Passing into the Present: Contemporary American Fiction of

            Racial and Gender Passing (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010).

Murray, Albert. the Omni-Americans: New Perspectives on Black Experience and American Culture (New York: Outerbridge & Dienstfrey, 1970). Excellent work on the cultural importance of blues and jazz.

Neal, Mark Anthony. Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and Post-Soul Aesthetic (London: Routledge, 2002).

Norman, Brian. Dead Women Talking: Figures of Injustice in American Literature (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). Good on Beloved

Parish, Timothy. The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). Essays on Wright, Hurston and Morrison.

Pryse, Marjorie and Hortense Spillers, ed. Conjuring: Black Women, Fiction, and

            Literary Tradition (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985).

Sollors, Werner,  Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Spillers, Hortense. Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003).

Sundquist, Eric. To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of African American

            Literature (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1993). Seminal work on African

            American Literature from 1830-1930.

Tate, Claudia. Psychoanalysis and Black Novels: Desire and the Protocols of Race (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Verney, Kevern. African Americans and US Popular Culture (London; New York: Routledge, 2003).

Wald, Gayle. Crossing the Line: Racial Passing in Twentieth Century U.S. Literature and Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000).

Wall, Cheryl.  Changing our Own Words: Essays on Criticism, Theory, and Writing by Black Women (London: Routledge, 1990).

------. Women of the Harlem  Renaissance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). Seminal work on women and the Harlem Renaissance.

Young, Al & Ishmael Reed.  African American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology (New York: HarperCollins College, 1996)


Gender and Sexuality

Bambara, Toni Cade, ed. The Black Woman: An Anthology (New York: New American Library, 1970; 2005). Ground-breaking anthology of essays, poems, writings by African American women.

Beam, Joseph. Ed In the Life: A Black Gay Anthology (Boston: Alyson Publications, 1986; 2008). A key work about African American writing and homosexuality. Includes an interview with Richard Bruce Nugent, the first Af-Am writer to publish a story about homosexuality.

Blount, Marcellus, and George P. Cunningham, eds. Representing Black Men (New York & LondonRoutledge, 1996). Excellent on race, sexuality & race.

Byerman, Keith Eldon. Fingering the Jagged Grain: Tradition and Form in Recent Black Fiction (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985). Includes chapters on Ellison and Morrison.

D'Emilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States 1940-1970. (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 1998). D'Emilio's books are not specifically African American but have good chapters on African American culture.

D'Emilio, John. Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. Ed. Estelle B. Freedman. (New York: Harper & Row, 1988).

Ferguson, Roderick A. Aberrations in Black : Toward a Queer of Color Critique (Minneapolis, Minn.: London: University of Minnesota Press, 2004). Includes a discussion of James Baldwin.

Hemphill, Essex, ed. Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men (Boston: Alyson Publications, 1991).

Henderson, Mae and E. Patrick Johnson. Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).

Hooks, Bell. Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (London: Pluto, 1982).

---. Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1990).

Leak, Jeffrey B. Racial Myths and Masculinity in African American Literature (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2005). Challenging but insightful book: includes a chapter on Ralph Ellison.

McBride, Dwight A. Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality (New York, N.Y. ; London: New York University, 2005).  Excellent essay on James Baldwin.

Segal, Lynne. Slow Motion : Changing Masculinities, Changing Men (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).Excellent chapter on race, gender and masculinity

Smith, Barbara, ed. Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (New Brunswick, N.J.; London: Rutgers University Press, 2000). Excellent anthology of black feminism.

 ---. The Truth that Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom (New Brunswick, N.J. & London: Rutgers University Press, 1998).

Staples, Robert. Black Masculinity: The Black Male's Role in American Society (Black Scholar Press, 1982).

Stecopoulos, Harry, and Michael Uebel, eds. Race and the Subject of Masculinities (Durham, N.C.; London: Duke University Press, 1997).

Stockton, Kathryn Bond. Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where "Black" Meets "Queer" (Durham, N.C.; London: Duke University Press, 2006). Useful chapter on Baldwin.

Summers, Claude J. Gay Fictions: Wilde to Stonewall : Studies in a Male Homosexual Literary Tradition (New York: Continuum, 1990). Includes a chapter on Baldwin

Wallace, Michele. Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (London: Verso, 1990). Outrageous and very readable account of black sexual politics in late 1960s and early 1970s. A must!

Young, Harvey, ed. The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). Includes chapters on Hurston and Amiri Baraka/ LeRoi Jones.



W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963)

Key works by Du Bois

·         See Sundquist, Eric, ed. The Oxford W.E.B. DuBois Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).


The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

The Talented Tenth, second chapter of The Negro Problem, a collection of articles by African Americans (September 1903).

John Brown: A Biography (1909)

Atlanta University's Studies of the Negro Problem (1897–1910)

The Negro (1915)

The Gift of Black Folk (1924)

Africa, Its Geography, People and Products (1930)

Africa: Its Place in Modern History (1930)

Black Reconstruction in America (1935)

What the Negro Has Done for the United States and Texas (1936)

Black Folk, Then and Now (1939)

Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (1945)

The World and Africa (1946)

The World and Africa, an Inquiry into the Part Which Africa Has Played in World History (1947)

Peace Is Dangerous (1951)

Africa in Battle Against Colonialism, Racialism, Imperialism (1960)



Darkwater: Voices From Within the Veil (1920)

Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (1940)

The Autobiography of W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, (1968)


Key Criticism on Du Bois


Andrews, William L., ed. Critical Essays on W. E .B. Du Bois (Boston: G. K. Hall,

            1985). Hard to get hold off; not in library and would need to be

            ordered via inter-library loan.

Back, Les and John Solomos. Theories of Race and Racism: a Reader (New York:

            Routledge, 2000). Contains useful chapter on Du Bois.

Balfour, Katharine Lawrence. Democracy's Reconstruction: Thinking Politically

            with W.E.B. Du Bois (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Bell, Bernard W. and Emily Grosholz. W. E. B. Du Bois on Race and Culture:

            Philosophy, Politics, and Poetics (New York: Routledge, 1996).on order

Blum, Edward and Jason Young, ed. The Souls of W.E.B. Du Bois: New Essays and

            Reflections (Macon, Ga. : Mercer University Press, 2009). On order

Byerman, Keith E. Seizing the Word: History, Art, and Self in the Work of W. E. B.

            Du Bois (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994).

Carby, Hazel V. Race Me (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998).

            Includes useful discussion of Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk

Crouch, Stanley and Playthell Benjamin. Reconsidering the Souls of Black

            Folk: [Thoughts on the Groundbreaking Classic Work of W. E. B. Dubois]

            (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2002). On order

Du Bois, Shirley Graham. His Day Is Marching On: A Memoir of W. E. B. Du Bois

            (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1971).

Durr, Marleese. The New Politics of Race: from Du Bois to the 21 st century

            (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002).

Horne, Gerald. W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography (Santa Barbara, Calif. : Greenwood

Press, 2010).

Horne, Gerald. Black and Red: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Afro-American Response to

            the Cold War, 1944–1963 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985).

Lewis, David Levering. W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868–1919 (New

            York: Henry Holt, 1993).

Lewis, David Levering. W. E. B. Du Bois—the Fight for Equality and the American

            Century, 1919-1963 (New York: H. Holt, 2000).

Logan, Rayford W. W. E. B. Du Bois: A Profile (New York: Hill and Wang, 1971).

Moore, Jack B. W. E. B. Du Bois (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1981).

Ramparsad, Arnold. The Art and Imagination of W. E. B. Du Bois (Cambridge, MA:

            Harvard University Press, 1982).

Reed, Adolph L., Jr. W. E. B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism

            and the Color Line.(New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Smith, Shawn Michelle. Photography on the Color Line: W.E.B. Du Bois, Race and

            Visual Culture (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004).

Sterne, Emma. His Was the Voice: The Life of W. E. B. Du Bois. Foreword by Ronald

            Severson (New York: Crowell-Collier Press, 1971).

Walden, Daniel. The Problem of Color in the Twentieth Century: a Memorial to W.

            E. B. Du Bois (Wilberforce, OH: Central State University, 1966).

Zamir, Shamoon. Dark Voices: W. E. B. Du Bois and American Thought, 1888–

            1903. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

------, ed. The Cambridge Companion to W.E.B. Du Bois (Cambridge: Cambridge

            University Press, 2008).

Zuckerman, Phil, ed. Du Bois on Religion( Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2000).

Zuckerman, Phil, ed. The Social Theory of W. E. B. Du Bois (Thousand Oaks, CA:

            Pine Forge Press, 2004).


James Weldon Johnson

Key Works

The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (novel), 1912.

Fifty Years and Other Poems, Cornhill, 1917.

(Editor) The Book of American Negro Poetry, Harcourt, 1922. In library

(Editor) The Book of American Negro Spirituals, Viking, 1925.

(Editor) The Second Book of Negro Spirituals Viking, 1926.

God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (poetry), 1927.

Black Manhattan (nonfiction), Knopf, 1930, Arno, 1968.

Along This Way: The Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson, Viking, 1933.

Negro Americans, What Now? (nonfiction), Viking, 1934.

Saint Peter Relates an Incident: Selected Poems, Viking, 1935.

The Great Awakening, Revell, 1938.

The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson, edited by Sondra K. Wilson, Oxford University Press, 1995. 2 volumes—in library

The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson (Modern Library) On order


Key Criticism on Johnson (there isn't a huge amount of secondary reading on Johnson)

Andrade, Heather. Revising Critical Judgments of "The Autobiography of an Ex-

            Colored Man." African American Review, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Summer,


Brooks, Neil. "On Becoming an Ex-Man: Postmodern Irony and the Extinguishing of

            Certainties  in the Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man." College Literature,

            Vol. 22, No. 3, Race and Politics: The Experience of African-American

            Literature (Oct., 1995):17-29.

Fleming, Robert. James Weldon Johnson (Boston: Twayne, 1987).

Goellnicht, Donald. "Passing as Autobiography: James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man." African American Review, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring, 1996): 17-33.

Levy, Eugene. James Weldon Johnson: Black Leader, Black Voice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973).

Pfeiffer, Kathleen. "Individualism, Success, and American Identity in The

            Autobiography of an ExColored Man." African American Review, Vol. 30,

            No. 3 (Autumn, 1996): 403-419.

Price, Kenneth and Lawrence Oliver, ed. Critical Essays on James Weldon Johnson

            (New York: G.K. Hall, 1997).

Vauthier, Simon, "The Interplay of Narrative Modes in James Weldon Johnson's "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man."  Jahrbuch für Amerikastudien 18 (1973): 173-181.

Wandler, Steven. "A Negro's Chance": Ontological Luck in "The Autobiography of an

            Ex-Colored Man." African American Review, Vol. 42, No. 3/4 (Fall - Winter,

            2008): 579-594

Washington, Salim. "Of Black Bards, Known and Unknown: Music as Racial

Metaphor in James Weldon Johnson's: The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored

Man." Callaloo: A Journal of African-American and African Arts and Letters 25.1 (Winter 2002): 233-56.


Zora Neale Hurston

Key Works (click on hyper links)


"How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928), essay

Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934), novel

Mules and Men (1935), non-fiction

Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), novel

Tell My Horse (1938), non-fiction

Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), novel

Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), autobiography

Seraph on the Suwanee (1948), novel

"What White Publishers Won't Print" (1950)

The Sanctified Church (1981)

Spunk: Selected Stories (1985)

Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life (play, with Langston Hughes; edited with introductions by George Houston Bass and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.) (1991)

The Complete Stories (introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sieglinde Lemke) (1995)

Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, collected and edited by Carla Kaplan (2003)

Collected Plays (2008)


Key Criticism on Hurston

Campbell, Josie. Student Companion to Zora Neale Hurston (Westport: Greenwood

            Press, 2001).

Gates, Henry Louis, ed. Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present

            (New York: Amistad, 1993). Great resource: includes reviews of her

            work at the time of publication.

Harris, Trudier. The Power of the Porch: The Storyteller's Craft in Zora Neale

Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan (Athens, Ga.: University of

Georgia Press, 1996).

Hathaway, Rosemary. "The Unbearable Weight of Authenticity: Zora Neale

            urston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and a Theory of "Touristic

            Reading."  The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 117, No. 464 (Spring,

            2004): 168-190.

Hemenway, Robert E. Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography (London: Camden

            Press, 1986).

Jordan, Jennifer. "Feminist Fantasies: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were

            Watching God." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Spring,

            1988): 105-117

Jones, Sharon L. Rereading the Harlem Renaissance: Race, Class and Gender in the Fiction of Jessie Fauset, Zora Neale Hurston, and Dorothy West (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002).

Kaplan, Carla, ed. Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters (New York: Doubleday,


Lester, Neal. Understanding Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Student  Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999).

Meisenhelder, Susan. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Race and Gender in the Work of Zora Neale Hurston (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1999).

Wall, Cheryl, ed.. Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Case ook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

------. Women of the Harlem Renaissance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,


West, Margaret. Zora Neale Hurston and American Literary Culture (Gainseville:

            University Press of Florida, 2005).

Wolter,  Jürgen C. "From History to Communal Narrative: The Merging of Cultural

            Paradigms in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" Amerikastudien / American

            Studies, Vol. 46, No. 2 (2001): 233-24


Richard Wright (1908-1960)

Key Works by Wright

  • Wright, Richard. The Richard Wright Reader (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).



Uncle Tom's Children (New York: Harper, 1938)

The Man Who Was Almost a Man (New York: Harper, 1939)

Native Son (New York: Harper, 1940)

The Outsider (New York: Harper, 1953)

Savage Holiday (New York: Avon, 1954)

The Long Dream (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1958)

Eight Men (Cleveland and New York: World, 1961)

Lawd Today (New York: Walker, 1963)

Rite of Passage (New York: Harper Collins, 1994)

A Father's Law (London: Harper Perennial, 2008)



How "Bigger" Was Born; Notes of a Native Son (New York: Harper, 1940)

12 Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States (New York: Viking, 1941)

Black Boy (New York: Harper, 1937)

Black Power (New York: Harper, 1954)

The Color Curtain (Cleveland and New York: World, 1956)

Pagan Spain (New York: Harper, 1957)

Letters to Joe C. Brown (Kent State University Libraries, 1968)

American Hunger (New York: Harper & Row, 1977)

Black Power: Three Books from Exile: "Black Power"; "The Color Curtain"; and "White Man, Listen!" (Harper Perennial, 2008)



The Ethics Of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch (1937)

Introduction to Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945)

I Choose Exile (1951)

White Man, Listen! (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1957)

Blueprint for Negro Literature (New York City, New York) (1937)[28]

The God that Failed (contributor) (1949)


Key Criticism on Wright

Butler, Robert James. "The Function of Violence in Richard Wright's Native Son."

            Black American Literature Forum, 20 1/2  (Spring-Summer 1986): 9-25.

Dow, William and Alice Mikal Craven, ed. Richard Wright: New readings in the 21st

            century( New York : Palgrave Macmillan 2011).

Ellison, Ralph. "Richard Wright's Blues." The Antioch Review, 5, 2 (Summer 1945):


Felgar, Robert. Richard Wright (Boston: Twayne Publishers 1980).

Fabre, Michel. The World of Richard Wright (Jackson: University Press of

            Mississippi 1985).

------. The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright (New York : Morrow 1973).

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The Signifying Monkey (New York: Oxford University Press,

            1988). Excellent chapter on Wright.

------- and Kwame Anthony Appiah, ed. Richard Wright: Critical Perspectives Past

            and Present (New York: Amistad, 1993). On order. Excellent sources for

            reviews and criticism from publication to later criticism.

Hakutani, Yoshinobu, Richard Wright and Racial Discourse (Columbia; London :

            University of Missouri Press 1996).

------. Critical Essays on Richard Wright (Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall 1982).

Felgar, Robert. Student Companion to Richard Wright (Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press 2000).

Gayle, Addison. Richard Wright: Ordeal of a Native Son (Garden City, N.Y : Anchor

            Press/Doubleday 1980).

Joyce Anne Joyce. "Style and Meaning in Richard Wright's Native Son." Black

            American Literature Forum, 16, 3 (Autumn 1982): 112-115.

Kinnamon, Keneth, ed. Conversations with Richard Wright (Jackson: University

            Press of Mississippi 1993).

------.The Emergence of Richard Wright: A Study of Literature and Society (Urbana

            (etc.); London : University of Illinois Press, 1972).

Miller, Eugene. Voice of a Native Son: The Poetics of Richard Wright (Jackson :

            University Press of Mississippi, 1990).

Miller, James A. "Bigger Thomas's Quest for Voice and Audience in Richard Wright's

            Native Son." Callaloo, 28: A special Issue on Richard Wright (Summer 1986):


Rampersad, Arnold. Richard Wright: a Collection of Critical Essays (Englewood

            Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice Hall 1995).

Weiss, M. Lynn. Gertrude Stein and Richard Wright: The Poetics and Politics of

            Modernism (Jackson, Miss. University of Mississippi Press, 1998).



James Baldwin 1984-1987

Key works by James Baldwin


Go Tell It on the Mountain (semi-autobiographical novel; 1953)

The Amen Corner (play; 1955)

Notes of a Native Son (essays; 1955)

Giovanni's Room (novel; 1956)

Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (essays; 1961)

Another Country (novel; 1962)

The Fire Next Time (essays; 1963)

Blues for Mister Charlie (play; 1964)

Going to Meet the Man (stories; 1965)

Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (novel; 1968)

No Name in the Street (essays; 1972)

If Beale Street Could Talk (novel; 1974)

The Devil Finds Work (essays; 1976)

Just Above My Head (novel; 1979)

Jimmy's Blues (poems; 1983)

The Evidence of Things Not Seen (essays; 1985)

The Price of the Ticket (essays; 1985) includes most of Baldwin's essays

Collected Essays (essays; 1998).  As above

The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings (essays; 2010)



Nothing Personal (with Richard Avedon, photography) (1964)

A Rap on Race (with Margaret Mead) (1971)

One Day When I Was Lost (orig.: A. Haley; 1972)

A Dialogue (with Nikki Giovanni) (1973)

Little Man Little Man: A Story of Childhood (with Yoran Cazac, 1976)

Native Sons (with Sol Stein, 2004). About Baldwin's relationship with his editor as he wrote Notes of a Native Son


Key Criticism on James Baldwin

Balfour, Katharine Lawrence. The Evidence of Things Not Said James Baldwin and the Promise of American Democracy (Ithaca, N.Y.; London: Cornell University Press, 2001).

Bloom, Harold, ed. James Baldwin: Modern Critical Views  (New York: Chelsea House Publications, 1985).

Campbell, James. Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin (London: Faber, 1991). Very useful and well written biography.

Caplan, Cora and Bill Schwaz, ed.. James Baldwin: America and Beyond (Ann Arob: University of Massachusetts Press, 2011). Useful collection of essays on JB

Chametzky, Jules, ed. Black Writers Redefine the Struggle. Edinburgh: Institute for advanced study in the humanities, 1989.

Field, Douglas, ed. A Historical Guide to James Baldwin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

------. James Baldwin (Tavistock: Northcote House Press, 2011).

Garcia, Jay. Psychology Comes to Harlem: Rethinking the Race Questions in  Twentieth Century America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). Includes a chapter on Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son and a discussion of Richard Wright.

Harris, Trudier. Black Women in the Fiction of James Baldwin. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985.

Kaplan, Cora and Bill Schwarz,

McBride, Dwight A., ed. James Baldwin Now. New York: London: New York University Press, 1999. 2 in library. Excellent collection of essays.

Miller, D. Quentin, ed. Re-Viewing James Baldwin: Things Not seen. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000. Useful collection of essays.

------. A Criminal Power: James Baldwin and the Law (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012). Good discussion of Notes of a Native Son

Relyea, Sarah. Outsider Citizens: The Remaking of Postwar Identity in Wright, Beauvoir, and Baldwin. New York, N.Y. ; London: Routledge, 2006.

Rusk, Lauren. "Selfhood and Strategy in Notes of a Native Son." James Baldwin Now. Ed. Dwight A. McBride. New York; London: New York University Press, 1999.

Stein, Sol. Native Sons: A Friendship that Created One of the Greatest Works of the 20th Century: Notes of a Native Son. New York: One World, 2004. Ordered 2. Fascinating account of how Baldwin's first book of essays came about.

Weatherby, W.J. James Baldwin: Artist on Fire (London: Michael Joseph, 1990).


Ralph Ellison

Ellison, Ralph. The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison. New York: Modern Library, 2003).

---. Flying Home and Other Stories. New York: Vintage Books, 1998. 2 in library.

---. Going to the Territory. New York: Random House, 1986. 2 in library.

---. Invisible Man. London: Penguin, 2001.

------. Three Days Before the Shooting (New York: The Modern Library, 2010).


Key Criticism on Ralph Ellison (this is just a start: there are many articles on JSTOR and chapters in books).

Busby, Mark. Ralph Ellison. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991. 

Butler, Robert. The Critical Response to Ralph Ellison (Westport, Conn. ; London : Greenwood Press 2000).

John F. Callahan. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: A Casebook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Foley, Barbara. Wrestling with the Left: The Making of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010).

Graham, Maryemma and Amritjit, ed. Conversations with Ralph Ellison (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995).

Nadel, Alan. Invisible Criticism: Ralph Ellison and the American Canon (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991).

O'Meally, Robert G., ed. New Essays on Invisible Man (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

------., ed. Living with Music: Ralph Ellison's Jazz Writings (New York: Modern Library, 2001).

Posnock, Ross, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Ellison (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Rampersad, Arnold. Ralph Ellison: A Biography (New York: Vintage, 2008).

Schor, Edith. Visible Ellison: A Study of Ralph Ellison's Fiction (Westport, Conn.: London: Greenwood Press, 1993).

Sundquist, Eric J., ed. Cultural Contexts for Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Boston, Mass.: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Tracy, Steven C.  ed. A Historical Guide to Ralph Ellison. (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Wright, John S. Shadowing Ralph Ellison (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006).


Toni Morrison

Morrison, Toni. Beloved. Chatto & Windus, 1987.

------. The Bluest Eye. London: Chatto and Windus, 1981.

------. Jazz. Chatto & Windus, 1992.

------. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Cambridge, Ma. ; London: Harvard University Press, 1992.

------.  Conversations with Toni Morrison (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi,


------. What Moves At the Margin: Selected Non-Fiction (Jackson: University Press

            of Mississippi, 2008).


Key Criticism on Morrison


Bloom, Harold, ed. Toni Morrison (New York: Chelsea House, 1990).

------, ed. Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism, 2007).

Peach, Linden. Toni Morrison (London: Macmillan, 1995).

Furman, Jan. Toni Morrison's Fiction (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1996).

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. and Anthony Appiah. Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (New York: Amistad, 1993).

Rushdy, Ashraf, H.A. ""Rememory" Primal Scenes and Constructions in Toni Morrison's Novels." Contemporary Literature 31.3:300-323 (1990).

Heinze, Denise. The Dilemma of "Double-Consciousness": Toni Morrison's Novels (Athens; London: University of Georgia Press, 1993).

Hernton, Calvin. "The Sexual Mountain and Black Women Writers." Wild Women in the Whirlwind: Afro-American Culture and the Contemporary Literary Renaissance. Ed. Joanne M. Braxton and Andre McLaughlin ( London: Serpent's Tails, 1990). 195-212.

Luebke, Steven R. "The Portrayal of Sexuality in Toni Morrison's the Bluest Eye." Censored Books II. Ed. Nicholas J. Karolides ( Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2002).

McKay, Nellie and William Andrews. Toni Morrison's Beloved: A Casebook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Roynon, Tessa. The Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison (Cambridge:

            Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Scott, Lynn Orilla. "Revising the Incest Story: Toni Morrison's the Bluest Eye and James Baldwin's just Above My Head." James Baldwin and Toni Morrison: Comparative Critical and Theoretical Essays. Ed. Lovalerie King and Lynn Orilla Scott (New York, N.Y.; Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

Waxman, Barbara Frey. "Girls into Women: Culture, Nature, and Self-Loathing in Toni Morrison's the Bluest Eye." Women in Literature : Reading through the Lens of Gender. Ed. Jerilyn Fisher and Ellen S. Silber. (Westport, Conn.; London: Greenwood Press, 2003).


Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones (Jones changed his name to Baraka)

Key Criticism

Benston, Kimberly W. Ed. Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones): A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs; London: Prentice-Hall, 1978. OUT OF PRINT, available in Amazon Marketplace.

Harrison, Paul Carter, Victor Leo Walker, and Gus Edwards, eds. Black Theatre Ritual Performance in the African Diaspora (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 2002). Includes an essay on Dutchman

Hatch, James Vernon, and Ted Shine. Black Theatre USA: Plays by African Americans. Expanded edition ed. Vol. 1. (New York: Free Press, 1996). Includes an essay on Dutchman

Mann, Emily, and David E. Roessel, eds. Political Stages: Plays that Shaped a Century (New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2002).

Rebhorn, Matthew. "Flaying Dutchmen: Masochism, Minstrelsy, and the Gender Politics of Amiri Baraka's Dutchman." Callaloo 26.3 (summer):796-812 (2003) Not available electronically.


African American Poetry

See the Norton Anthology of African American Literature for a comprehensive selection.  See also:

Adoff, Arnold, and Gwendolyn Brooks, eds. The Poetry of Black America Anthology of the 20th Century. New York: Harper Collins, 1973.

Reid, Margaret Ann. Black Protest Poetry Polemics from the Harlem Renaissance and the Sixties. Vol. 08. New York: P. Lang, 2001.


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