Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943

Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943

Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943

Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943

Synopsis

Though known primarily as a poet, Langston Hughes crafted well over 40 theatrical works. This book examines Hughes's stage pieces from his first published play, The Gold Piece (1921), through his post-radical wartime effort, For This We Fight (1943). Hughes's stage writing of this period includes such forms as the folk comedy, the protest drama, the historical play and the blues opera. McLaren concludes that the "democratic" argument is ultimately employed by Hughes to challenge segregation in the military and that Hughes's iconography prefigures the black aesthetic of the 1960s. Photographs complement the text.

Excerpt

Despite the reprobation of his father and disinterest of his mother, the young Langston Hughes was doggedly determined to make his living as a man of letters writing for and about African Americans. Ultimately, he bequeathed to the world a treasure-trove of literature. While it is his poetry that leaps immediately to mind (and rightfully so, for he published more than 860 poems in his lifetime), his other works include short stories, children's stories, opera libretti, a history of the NAACP, two volumes of autobiography, and most importantly to this present book, over forty plays or skits. Indeed, his body of dramatic work is so prodigious that noted Hughes scholar Dr. Arnold Rampersad remarked in March 1992, at a Lincoln University memorial, that if Hughes "had never written a poem . . . his plays alone . . . could secure him a place in Afro-American literary history." In this book, Dr. Joseph McLaren confirms Dr. Rampersad's assessment and advances Langston Hughes as a pioneer and dramatic force in African American theatre.

Aptly entitled Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943, Dr. McLaren's work particularly underscores Hughes's ability to infuse his dramatic works, as he did his poetry, with a celebration of Black folk culture while simultaneously protesting racial injustice. Moreover, Hughes accomplished this synthesis in the midst of a rift between the two preeminent African American dramatic theorists of the time, W.E.B. Du Bois and Alain Locke, precisely over the role of drama as art or as a tool of protest. Alain Locke had proposed in his articles, Steps Toward the Negro Theatre, ironically published inDuBois

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.