Harlem Renaissance Re-Examined

By Victor A. Kramer; Robert A. Russ | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION:
THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE RE-EXAMINED

The new and revised essays gathered within this book provide a systematic examination of many important aspects of that complex period called the Harlem Renaissance. In addition, because a dozen years have passed since the original collection was commissioned for Studies in the Literary Imagination ( 1974), much additional scholarly work about the Harlem Renaissance has been accomplished, and thus many new approaches for study of the Renaissance are reflected in the new essays included here. Subjects which may not have even seemed promising to scholars in the early 1970s have now yielded valuable results. All of this reflects the continuing scholarly process which advances while it builds on earlier work. When the first group of essays was written in 1973 and 1974, I sought to include examinations of the "major" figures involved in the Renaissance. Not all were covered then, and even with this book some still remain unexamined. This, too, suggests the complexity of a literary period which involves so many aspects of cultural and literary history.

The 1974 Studies issue sought to accomplish two things: it attempted to provide examinations about the Harlem Renaissance in relation to the most significant black artists, and it also sought to suggest some of the complexity of the relationships between white and black writers. In this expanded volume new studies reveal that both areas (black artists themselves, as well as the complex relationships between white and black), continue to generate valuable inquiries. In this book many more theoretical questions are also raised. Valuable new inquiries are possible because scholars have refined their approaches and sought out materials not readily available a decade earlier. For example, while male artists dominated the earlier collection, black women artists and work by women scholars take their rightful place in this book. This re-examination of the Harlem Re

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