The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century

The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century

The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century

The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century

Synopsis

A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century. A reflective, moving account in which, with grace and clarity, Dr. Du Bois revised and incorporated his earlier works and added new sections.

Excerpt

Relatively rare are those whose autobiographies are published; very rare are those who live so long and so consequentially that two autobiographies see the printed page. But surely a rarity of rarities--if not quite unique in literature--is one to whom it is given to produce three autobiographies and have all three published.

It is this rarity that the reader now holds. In his 50th year --1918-1919--Dr. Du Bois wrote Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil, copyrighted in 1920 and published in 1921 by Harcourt, Brace; in his 70th year--1938-1939--he wrote Dusk of Dawn: An Essay toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept, issued in 1940 by the same publisher. And in his 90th year--1958-1959--he wrote the basic draft (somewhat revised by him in 1960) of this present book. The manuscript was carried by the Doctor to Ghana late in 1961 and published, in somewhat shortened versions, in 1964 and 1965, in China, the USSR, and the German Democratic ReSYSTEM. Rescued from Accra, after the military coup of early 1966, the manuscript is now published for the first time in the language of its composition and in full. It is published as Dr. Du Bois wrote it; changes have been few and only of a technical nature--correcting a date, completing a name, and the like.

In the "Apology," introducing his Dusk of Dawn, Dr. Du Bois wrote, "in my own experience, autobiographies have had little lure"; hence, that book was, as its subtitle indicated, not so much a conventional autobiography as an essay on the concept of race as illuminated by his own life. And his earlier Darkwater tried, through impressionistic essays and impassioned poetry, to lift the veil and illuminate life within and without from that vantage point.

The present volume is quite different from the other two not only because of its additional two-decade span, and the significantly altered outlook of its author, but also because . . .

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