Images of Black Modernism
Verbal and Visual Strategies of the Harlem Renaissance
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
There are a number of people who helped me bring this book to fruition. First, I thank Elizabeth Abel for being such a gracious and generous adviser. She has provided a model of mentorship and scholarship which I was very privileged to observe and learn from. ...
Introduction: A Crisis in Black Art and Literature
The year 1926 was a challenging one for the magazine Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races. The official publication of the NAACP, it competed that year with another African American magazine, Opportunity, for literary preeminence; and the editor of Crisis, W. E. B. Du Bois, sought to counteract the magazine’s declining influence ...
Chapter 1: Tone Pictures: James Weldon Johnson’s Experiment in Dialect
In a 1929 letter to James Weldon Johnson, the black film producer and actor William “Bill” Foster asserted a claim about the African American voice and a rising form of entertainment, the talking picture. According to Foster, the new medium offered unprecedented opportunities for the African American performer: ...
Chapter 2: Reading the Body: Fashion, Etiquette, and Narrative in Nella Larsen’s Passing
There is a striking convergence of issues between James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Nella Larsen’s Passing. Not only do both novels of racial passing have narratives that revel in ambiguity, but also the frequently deceptive characters in the two novels are keenly attuned to bodies and to fashion. ...
Chapter 3: Surface Effects: Satire, Race, and Language in George Schuyler’s Black No More and “The Negro- Art Hokum
In 1933 James Weldon Johnson found himself in an awkward position. Two black writers, one George Schuyler and the other Claude McKay, wrote to him requesting a recommendation letter for a Guggenheim Fellowship. Johnson explained his dilemma to the administrator of the prestigious grant. Although both were stellar enough ...
Chapter 4: Collectin’ Van Vechten: The Narrative and Visual Collections of Carl Van Vechten
Carl Van Vechten’s 1926 novel is most famously known for linking a racial epithet with a sanctified space. The very title, Nigger Heaven, was, and still is, offensive enough to dissuade one from glancing at the pages within the covers.1 After perusing the novel, after doing what critics of the novel advised against— that is, reading the pages ...
Chapter 5: A Photographic Language: Camera Lucida and the Photography of James Van Der Zee and Aaron Siskind
There is a compulsion to interpret certain forms of visual representation literally. In photography, for instance, the instinct is to take the photograph at face value, that is, as a readily apparent truth. Roland Barthes notes in his classic discussion of photography that viewers often take the photograph “immediately or generally” ...
Conclusion: Remembering Harlem: Wallace Thurman, Alain Locke, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Harlem” Exhibition
Like no other period in African American culture, the Harlem Renaissance invites romanticization. Continually remembered, discussed, debated, the period is perhaps one of the few moments in twentieth-century African American history that does not suffer from a willing forgetting. ...
Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2010
OCLC Number: 794700492
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