By Claude McKay
Claude McKay (1889–1948) was once some of the most prolific and complicated African American writers of the early 20th century. A Jamaican-born writer of poetry, brief tales, novels, and nonfiction, McKay has frequently been linked to the “New Negro” or Harlem Renaissance, a stream of African American paintings, tradition, and intellectualism among global battle I and the nice melancholy. yet his dating to the stream was once advanced. actually absent from Harlem in the course of that interval, he committed such a lot of his time to touring via Europe, Russia, and Africa in the course of the Nineteen Twenties and Nineteen Thirties. His lively participation in Communist teams and the unconventional Left additionally inspired convinced critiques on race and sophistication that strained his courting to the Harlem Renaissance and its black intelligentsia. In his 1937 autobiography, A good way from Home, McKay explains what it capability to be a black “rebel sojourner” and provides one of many first unflattering, but informative, exposés of the Harlem Renaissance. Reprinted right here with a severe creation via Gene Andrew Jarrett, this e-book will problem readers to reconsider McKay’s articulation of identification, paintings, race, and politics and situate those issues when it comes to his oeuvre and his literary contemporaries among the area wars.
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Extra info for A Long Way from Home (Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the Americas)
He came to realize that in order to enjoy the privilege of attending Communist congresses, he had to perform like a “typical Negro” who not only looked black but demonstrated a peculiarly racial vision of the world (chapter 16). Further empowering himself as a political spokesman for the race, McKay expressed his opinion of the organizational failings of African 000 fm (i-xl) 12/5/06 2:34 PM Page xxx x x x • introduction Americans to Trotsky, who believed that they were “backward,” required “uplift,” and overlooked the beneﬁts of the “labor movement” (chapter 19).
I knew him. ” His mention of James Thomson and question from The City of Dreadful Night moved me sadly. I remembered it was one of the ﬁrst books of poems that Mr. Jekyll presented to me and 010 pt 1 (1-48) 12/5/06 2:35 PM Page 21 a great editor • 21 that for a long time I was haunted by the spirit of the strange music of the desert song and the pessimistic feeling of the whole poem, which acted like a damper on my naturally happy disposition. Yet I did love the poem, ﬁnding it as lyrically rich and totally beautiful even as Omar Khayyám.
English and German poetry is inﬁnitely higher. Yet, the English are barbarians compared to the French. Heine marveled that Shakespeare was an Englishman and Jesus a Jew. Ah Jesus, Jesus! Our Lord and Master! That is the secret of the difference between the peoples of Africa and of Asia and the people of Europe. ” And, strangely to me, Frank Harris began preaching Jesus. Which seemed so incongruous with his boulevardier dress and manner. He did it beautifully, but unconvincingly. There was something about the man’s personality, so pugnacious (a ﬁne pugnaciousness that I admired when he expatiated upon his profane experiences and because he was physically small and rebellious), that made him appear a little ridiculous preaching the self-denialism of Jesus.