On the Ruins of Modernity: New Chicago Renaissance from Wright to Fair

By R. Baxter Miller.

Published by New Directions in the Humanities, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Print $US40.00
Book: Electronic $US15.00

Within a rich cultural and political context, Miller proposes that as the centuries turned and the nation became more diverse, the great Chicago Renaissances—especially the literary and cultural ones—never really ended. The nation’s cities simply became more richly complexioned and culturally nuanced. Hence, the great Popular and Cultural Fronts of the thirties resurfaced as the innovative Black Arts Movement of the late sixties and early seventies. By the last third of the Twentieth Century, Chicago epitomized a dynamism among several of the most gifted African American writers in the nation's history. In addition to Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright, these figures included Lorraine Hansberry, and, yes, the nearly forgotten Ronald L. Fair. As a whole, the four recentered the locus of literary artistry in the United States. Though the great trace of African American literary imagination had nearly always led through the Harlem Renaissance of 1920s New York, a new trajectory took a decisive turn toward the Great Lakes. It has taken until the early decades of the 21st century to realize that the cultural map of the last hundred years had already changed. This book, a startling epiphany of post-modern American culture, will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in national politics and history as well as bold innovations in literary form.

Keywords: American literature- Illinois - Chicago, African American authors, Chicago-Intellectual life, American literature-History and Criticism

Book: Print (Paperback). Book: Electronic (PDF File; 6.396MB). Published by New Directions in the Humanities, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing, Illinois.

Dr. R. Baxter Miller

Professor of English and African American Studies, Franklin College, University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA

R. Baxter Miller (Ph.D., Brown University) wrote The Art and Imagination of Langston Hughes (1989; paperback 2006), which won the American Book Award in 1991, and edited the internationally acclaimed Black American Literature and Humanism (1981). One of five co-editors and co-authors to have published Call and Response: the Riverside Edition of African American Literature (1998, 2003), he specializes in the study of poetics across the centuries. His most important essays are extensively revised and published as Artistry of Memory (2008). Of his ten volumes, the critical edition Black American Poets between Worlds, 1940-1960 (1986) was an academic bestseller, and The Southern Trace in Black Critical Theory (1991), a critical study, helped establish the new series of the Xavier Review Press. The commissioned editor of Langston Hughes: the Short Stories (2002), Miller has completed Critical Insights: Langston Hughes, a new edition scheduled to appear in 2012. He has earned both the Langston Hughes Award and the Ford-Turpin honor for the stewardship of an African American critical legacy.


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