In this Book

In identifying Jim Crow with the coming of modernity, Smethurst focuses on how artists reacted to the system’s racial territorialization, especially in urban areas, with migration narratives, poetry about the black experience, and black performance of popular culture forms such as ragtime and vaudeville. He shows how black writers such as Fenton Johnson and William Stanley Braithwaite circulated some of the earliest and strongest ideas about an American “bohemia.” Smethurst also upsets the customary assessment of the later Harlem Renaissance as the first and primary site of a nationally significant black arts movement by examining the influence of these earlier writers and artists on the black and white modernists who followed. In so doing, Smethurst brings forward a host of understudied figures while recontextualizing the work of canonical authors such as Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and James Weldon Johnson. As such, Smethurst positions his work as part of the current growing intellectual conversation about the nature of African American literature and culture between Reconstruction and the Harlem Renaissance. Far from being a “nadir” period, Smethurst argues, this period saw black artists creating cultural forms from which issued some of the most significant literary works of the twentieth century.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: New Forms and Captive Knights in the Age of Jim Crow and Mechanical Reproduction
  2. pp. 1-26
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  1. 1. Dueling Banjos: African American Dualism and Strategies for Black Representation at the Turn of the Century
  2. pp. 27-65
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  1. 2. Remembering “Those Noble Sons of Ham”: Poetry, Soldiers, and Citizens at the End of Reconstruction
  2. pp. 66-95
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  1. 3. The Black City: The Early Jim Crow Migration Narrative and the New Territory of Race
  2. pp. 96-122
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  1. 5. Somebody Else’s Civilization: African American Writers, Bohemia, and the New Poetry
  2. pp. 123-154
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  1. 5. A Familiar and Warm Relationship: Race, Sexual Freedom, and U.S. Literary Modernism
  2. pp. 155-187
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  1. Conclusion: “Our Beautiful White. . ."
  2. pp. 188-216
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 217-229
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 231-245
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 247-252
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Additional Information

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