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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.
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."
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.
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