The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1941-1967: I Dream a World

Arnold Rampersad, Author Oxford University Press, USA $39.95 (528p) ISBN 978-0-19-504519-2
The second and concluding volume of this biography of the distinguished black writer lives up to the high standard set by its critically praised predecessor. It follows Hughes from the 1940s, a discouraging period when he was ostracized as a radical and feared his career was over, through the 1950s and '60s, when he took hope from the civil rights movement yet felt alienated from younger, angrier writers such as James Baldwin and LeRoi Jones. The author, an English professor at Rutgers, astutely evaluates Hughes's complex personality: the charm that masked an essential aloofness; the intense attachments to younger men that led to a widespread assumption (never verified) that he was homosexual; above all, his love of the warmth and humor of ordinary black men and women. Rampersad is an unsparing but sympathetic analyst of Hughes's life and work; he has written an absorbing critical biography that is also a deft social history of black America in the 20th century. Photos not seen by PW. (October)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Hardcover - 512 pages - 978-0-19-504011-1
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-19-505426-2
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-19-506169-7
Open Ebook - 521 pages - 978-0-19-976086-2
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