Temples for Tomorrow

Temples for Tomorrow

Looking Back at the Harlem Renaissance
Edited by Geneviève Fabre and Michel Feith
Distribution: World
Publication date: 8/29/2001
ISBN: 978-0-253-10910-1
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Description

The Harlem Renaissance is rightly considered to be a moment of creative exuberance and unprecedented explosion. Today, there is a renewed interest in this movement, calling for a re-evaluation and a closer scrutiny of the era and of documents that have only recently become available. Temples for Tomorrow reconsiders the period—between two world wars—which confirmed the intuitions of W. E. B. DuBois on the "color line" and gave birth to the "American dilemma," later evoked by Gunnar Myrdal. Issuing from a generation bearing new hopes and aspirations, a new vision takes form and develops around the concept of the New Negro, with a goal: to recreate an African American identity and claim its legitimate place in the heart of the nation. In reality, this movement organized into a remarkable institutional network, which was to remain the vision of an elite, but which gave birth to tensions and differences.

This collection attempts to assess Harlem's role as a "Black Mecca", as "site of intimate performance" of African American life, and as focal point in the creation of a diasporic identity in dialogue with the Caribbean and French-speaking areas.

Essays treat the complex interweaving of Primitivism and Modernism, of folk culture and elitist aspirations in different artistic media, with a view to defining the interaction between music, visual arts, and literature.

Also included are known Renaissance intellectuals and writers. Even though they had different conceptions of the role of the African American artist in a racially segregated society, most participants in the New Negro movement shared a desire to express a new assertiveness in terms of literary creation and indentity-building.

Author Bio

Geneviève Fabre is professor at the University Paris 7 where she is director of the Center of African American Research. Author of books on James Agee, on African American Theatre (Paris, CNRS and Harvard U P), she has contributed to several collective volumes and encyclopedias. Co-author of books on F.S. Fitzgerald, American minorities, she has edited or co-edited several volumes: on Hispanic literatures, on Barrio culture in the USA, on ethnicity, two volumes on "Feasts and Celebrations among Ethnic Communities," two on Toni Morrison, and a book on History and Memory in Afr Am Culture. She is now co-editing with Michel Feith a collection of essays on The Harlem Renaissance. A Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard, The National Humanities Center and the American Antiquarian Society, she is currently working on African American celebrative culture (1730-1880).

Michel Feith is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nantes, France. He has spent several years abroad; his experience of living in Australia, Japan and the United States has sensitivized him to issues of multiculturalism. He wrote a doctoral thesis under the direction of Professor Geneviève Fabre, on " Myth and History in Chinese American and Chicano Literature " (1995), and his publications include articles on Maxine Hong Kingston, John Edgar Wideman, and the Harlem Renaissance.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction / Geneviève Fabre and Michel Feith
1. Racial Doubt and Racial Shame in the Harlem Renaissance / Arnold Rampersad

Part I. Criteria of Renaissance Art
2. The Syncopated African : Construction of Origins During the Harlem Renaissance / Michel Feith
3. Oh Africa!: The Influence of African Art During the Harlem Renaissance / Amy Kirschke
4. The Heart of a Woman : Florence Price's Symphony in E Minor in the Context of the Harlem Renaissance / Rae Linda Brown
5. Ethel Waters: The Voice of an Era / Randall Cherry
6. Race Movies and the Harlem Renaissance / Clyde Taylor

Part II. Enter The New Negro: Some Writers of the Renaissance:
7. The Tragedy and the Joke: James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man / Alessandro Portelli
8. "The Spell of Africa Is Upon Me": W.E.B. Du Bois's Notion of Art as Propaganda / Alessandra Lorini
9. Subject to Disappearance: Interracial Identity in Nella Larsen's Quicksand / George Hutchinson
10. No Free Gift: From Jean Toomer's "Fern" to Fisher's "Miss Cynthie" / William Boelhower
11. Harlem as a Memory Place: Reconstructing the Harlem Renaissance in Space / Dorothea Löbbermann
12. "Thoughts Untouched by Words": Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God / Claudine Raynaud
13. Langston Hughes's Blues / Monica Michlin

Part III. The Negro Mind Reaches Out: The Renaissance in International Perspective:
14. The Tropics in New York: Claude McKay and the New Negro Movement / Carl Pedersen
15. The West Indian Presence in Alain Locke's New Negro / Françoise Charras
16. Three Ways to Translate the Harlem Renaissance / Brent Edwards
17. Modernism, the New Negro and Négritude / Michel Fabre

Chronology
Selected Bibliography
Index