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Dimensions:
200 × 130 mm
224 pages
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781789141955
Illustrations:
35 illustrations
Published:
13 Jan 2020
Series:
Critical Lives
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Langston Hughes W. Jason Miller

As the first black author in America to make his living exclusively by writing, Langston Hughes inspired a generation of writers and activists. One of the pioneers of jazz poetry, Hughes led the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, while Martin Luther King invoked his signature metaphor of dreaming in his speeches. The only black writer of his generation to visit Africa, Hughes also covered the Spanish Civil War alongside Ernest Hemingway, and wrote about landmark legal cases such as the Scottsboro Boys trial in Alabama in 1931.

In this new biography W. Jason Miller illuminates Hughes’s status as an international literary figure, through a compelling look at the relationship between his extraordinary life and his canonical works. Drawing on unpublished letters and manuscripts, Miller addresses Hughes’s often ignored contributions to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, his complex and well-guarded sexuality, and repositions him as a writer rather than merely the most beloved African American poet of the twentieth century.

W. Jason Miller is Professor of Literature at North Carolina State University. His books include Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture (2011) and Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric (2015). His ‘King’s First Dream’ project made the first-ever recording of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech available to listeners online.

Prologue

1 Motherless Child, 1901–19
2 I, Too, am America, 1919–24
3 A Bone of Contention, 1924–30
4 In the USSR, 1930–33
5 Let America Be America Again, 1933–40
6 Aimee B. Simple, 1940–45
7 F. B. Eyes, 1945–50
8 Montage of a Dream Deferred, 1950–53
9 Seeing Red, 1953–60
10 Bright Tomorrows, 1960–62
11 I Dream a World, 1962–7

Epilogue
References
Further Reading
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements