By Claude McKay
Claude McKay (1889–1948) was once probably the most prolific and complex African American writers of the early 20th century. A Jamaican-born writer of poetry, brief tales, novels, and nonfiction, McKay has usually been linked to the “New Negro” or Harlem Renaissance, a circulation of African American paintings, tradition, and intellectualism among international warfare I and the nice melancholy. yet his dating to the circulate was once advanced. actually absent from Harlem in the course of that interval, he committed so much of his time to touring via Europe, Russia, and Africa in the course of the Nineteen Twenties and Nineteen Thirties. His lively participation in Communist teams and the unconventional Left additionally inspired yes evaluations on race and sophistication that strained his courting to the Harlem Renaissance and its black intelligentsia. In his 1937 autobiography, A good way from Home, McKay explains what it ability to be a black “rebel sojourner” and provides one of many first unflattering, but informative, exposés of the Harlem Renaissance. Reprinted right here with a severe creation by way of Gene Andrew Jarrett, this publication will problem readers to reconsider McKay’s articulation of id, paintings, race, and politics and situate those issues by way of his oeuvre and his literary contemporaries among the area wars.
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Extra info for A Long Way from Home (Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the Americas)
He stepped back and scrutinized me before indicating a seat. He explained that he was speculating whether I reminded him of any special African type, for he had traveled in South Africa, West Africa, East Africa and the Sudan. The door opened and a woman, wearing a rich-looking rose-colored opera cloak, stood poised on the threshold like a picture. ” She nodded slightly and vanished. “She adores it but I don’t care a rap about the opera. Of all the arts of the theater it is the tinseliest. ” I said I liked the opera rather well, such of it as I had seen, especially the chorus and the dancing.
It had been necessary for me to do some practical thing to exist. And it had been a big experience, ﬁnding out about America and knowing the commonalty of American Negroes. I had continued all along to write at intervals and rewrite to make my writing better, I said. “You must write prose,” Frank Harris said. I demurred. “Yes, you must and you will,” he went on. “Now you must write something about yourself to preface these poems. I am sure you will write prose some day. Poetry comes ﬁrst; prose follows with maturity.
I have made enemies right and left and they pursue me with hatred, but I have never been afraid, I defy them as Byron: I have not loved the world, nor the world loved me; I have not ﬂatter’d its rank breath, nor bowed To its idolatries a patient knee. . ” I had no desire for sleep. I was too uplifted by Frank Harris’s grand voice, roaring like a waterfall in my head. I had listened to many voices that were lovely before, but very often it was the association of the individual with the speech that made the voice ﬁne to me.
A Long Way from Home (Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the Americas) by Claude McKay