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Library of America Harlem Renaissance Novels Collection

Found in Historical Fiction
Harlem Renaissance: Five Novels of the 1920s (LOA #217) by Rafia Zafar
Harlem Renaissance: Four Novels of the 1930s (LOA #218) by Rafia Zafar

Library of America Harlem Renaissance Novels Collection : Titles in Order

Book 2
HARLEM RENAISSANCE: Four Novels of the 1930s traces the flowering of the Renaissance in diverse genres and forms. It opens with Langston Hughes’s Not Without Laughter (1931), an elegantly realized coming-of-age tale that follows a young man from his rural origins to the big city. Suffused with childhood memories, it is the poet’s only novel. George S. Schuyler’s Black No More (1931), a satire founded on the science fiction premise of a wonder drug permitting blacks to change their race, skewers public figures white and black alike in a raucous, carnivalesque send-up of American racial attitudes. Considered the first detective story by an African American writer, Rudolph Fisher’s The Conjure-Man Dies (1932) is a mystery that comically mixes and reverses stereotypes, placing a Harvard-educated African “conjureman” at the center of a phantasmagoric charade of deaths and disappearances. Black Thunder (1936), Arna Bontemps’s stirring fictional recreation of Gabriel Prosser’s 1800 slave revolt, which, though unsuccessful, shook Jefferson’s Virginia to its core, marks a turn from aestheticism toward political militancy in its exploration of African American history.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
HARLEM RENAISSANCE: Five Novels of the 1920s leads off with Jean Toomer’s Cane (1923), a unique fusion of fiction, poetry, and drama rooted in Toomer’s experiences as a teacher in Georgia. Toomer’s masterpiece was followed within a few years by a cluster of novels exploring black experience and the dilemmas of black identity in a variety of modes and from different angles. Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem (1928), whose freewheeling, impressionistic, bawdy kaleidoscope of Jazz Age nightlife made it a best seller, traces the picaresque adventures of Jake, a World War I veteran, within and beyond Harlem. Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928), the poignant, nuanced psychological portrait of a woman caught between the two worlds of her mixed Scandinavian and African American heritage; Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun (1928), the richly detailed account of a young art student’s struggles to advance her career in a society full of obstacles both overt and insidiously concealed; and Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry (1929), with its anguished, provocative look at prejudice and exclusion as it tells of a new arrival in Harlem searching for love, each in its distinct way testifies to the enduring power of the Harlem ferment.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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