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Praised by The New York Times as "a true singer of the people--white or black," Paul Laurence Dunbar published this short story collection in 1904, two years before his untimely death. The son of freed slaves, Dunbar was best known for his dialect pieces as well as distinguished for his poetry and prose in standard English. These sixteen tales of the daily lives of African Americans in the post-Civil War South examine the promise of northward migration, the horrors of lynching, and the complexity of the relationships between former slaves and masters. Highlights include "The Scapegoat," concerning a lawyer who falls prey to envious rivals; "The Mission of Mr. Scatters," the tale of a con man brought to justice; and "Old Abe's Conversion," a thought-provoking look at generational differences in religious practice.
A historic collection of perceptive tales from a luminary of nineteenth-century literatureFirst published in 1904, The Heart of Happy Hollow features sixteen short stories that provide rare glimpses into the lives of African Americans after the Civil War. Through characters ranging from schemers to preachers, Paul Laurence Dunbar crafted a rare snapshot of long-lost communities and their poignant sensibilities. An author who achieved remarkable versatility, he draws on language that is by turns folksy and formal, putting forth controversial vernacular dialects as easily as he delivers a hauntingly poetic scene. In this collection, readers meet an influential entrepreneur who must navigate a treacherous political landscape; a Southern spiritual leader who must learn to accept the mores of his son, who was educated in the North; a reporter who restores hope in Santa Claus to a group of destitute siblings; and a host of other unique men and women giving voice to timeless themes.Dunbar's work has deservingly experienced a recent revival among commercial and scholarly audiences alike, and noted scholar Eleanor Alexander, author of the critically acclaimed biography Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore further contextualizes Dunbar's contributions to American letters. A captivating read, The Heart of Happy Hollow will introduce more book lovers to this revered storyteller and visionary.
Dubbed the "Poet Laureate of the Negro race" by Booker T. Washington, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) is best known for his lively dialect poems. In addition to his dialect verse, however, Dunbar also wrote fine poems in standard English that captured many elements of the black experience in America.This volume contains a representative cross-section of both types of verse, including "Ode to Ethiopia," "Worn Out," "Not They Who Soar," "When Malindy Sings," "We Wear the Mask," "Little Brown Baby," "Dinah Kneading Dough," "The Haunted Oak," "Black Samson of Brandywine" and many more.A rich amalgam of lyrics encompassing patriotism, a celebration of rural life and homey pleasures, anger at the inequalities accorded his race, and faith in ultimate justice, this collection affords readers an excellent opportunity to enjoy the distinctive voice and poetic technique of one of the most beloved and widely read African-American poets.
Paul Laurence Dunbar was "the most promising young colored man" in nineteenth-century America, according to Frederick Douglass, and subsequently one of the most controversial. His plantation lyrics, written while he was an elevator boy in Ohio, established Dunbar as the premier writer of dialect poetry and garnered him international recognition. More than a vernacular lyricist, Dunbar was also a master of classical poetic forms, who helped demonstrate to post-Civil War America that literary genius did not reside solely in artists of European descent. William Dean Howells called Dunbar's dialect poems "evidence of the essential unity of the human race, which does not think or feel black in one and white in another, but humanly in all."
A landmark in African-American literature, this powerful turn-of-the-century novel was among the first realistic depictions of ghetto life and language. Written by a renowned poet, essayist, and lecturer who was the son of former slaves, its fictional portrayal of social and political issues within an early-twentieth-century black community foreshadowed the later works of such luminaries as James Baldwin and Richard Wright. As the story opens in the post-Civil War South, Berry Hamilton, his wife, and children are living happily in a cottage on Maurice Oakley's prosperous plantation. Employed there for thirty years, the black couple has been loyal and enjoyed a comfortable life--before and after emancipation. But their good fortune changes abruptly when money is discovered missing from Oakley's mansion. Berry is wrongfully accused of theft and sentenced to ten years of hard labor. Evicted from the plantation, the rest of the family flees to New York's Harlem to start anew. But the lure of the city's vices is more than they can handle. Without their patriarch's guiding hand, they fall victim to its temptations with serious consequences for each of them. Hailed by Booker T. Washington as "the Poet Laureate of the Negro Race," Paul Laurence Dunbar broke new ground with this poignant novel, entertaining readers with lively dialogue and dialect, as he influenced a nation's social conscience.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872--1906) overcame racism and poverty to become one of the best-known authors in America, and the first African American to earn a living from his poetry, fiction, drama, journalism, and lectures. This original collection includes the short novel The Sport of the Gods, Dunbar's essential essays and short stories, and his finest poems, such as "Sympathy," all which explore crucial social, political, and humanistic issues at the dawn of the twentieth century.