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The Weary Blues

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by Langston Hughes
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The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

Nearly ninety years after its first publication, this celebratory edition of The Weary Blues reminds us of the stunning achievement of Langston Hughes, who was just twenty-four at its first appearance. Beginning with the opening "Proem" (prologue poem)—"I am a Negro: / Black as the night is black, / Black like the depths of my Africa"—Hughes spoke directly, intimately, and powerfully of the experiences of African Americans at a time when their voices were newly being heard in our literature. As the legendary Carl Van Vechten wrote in a brief introduction to the original 1926 edition, "His cabaret songs throb with the true jazz rhythm; his sea-pieces ache with a calm, melancholy lyricism; he cries bitterly from the heart of his race . . . Always, however, his stanzas are subjective, personal," and, he concludes, they are the expression of "an essentially sensitive and subtly illusive nature." That illusive nature darts among these early lines and begins to reveal itself, with precocious confidence and clarity.

In a new introduction to the work, the poet and editor Kevin Young suggests that Hughes from this very first moment is "celebrating, critiquing, and completing the American dream," and that he manages to take Walt Whitman's American "I" and write himself into it. We find here not only such classics as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and the great twentieth-century anthem that begins "I, too, sing America," but also the poet's shorter lyrics and fancies, which dream just as deeply. "Bring me all of your / Heart melodies," the young Hughes offers, "That I may wrap them / In a blue cloud-cloth / Away from the too-rough fingers / Of the world."

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Ebook Details
Pages: 128
Size: 2.8 MB
Publisher: Knopf
Date published:   2015
ISBN: 9780385352987 (DRM-EPUB)

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This product is listed in the following categories:

Nonfiction > Poetry
Nonfiction > Poetry > American
Nonfiction > Poetry > American > African American

This author has products in the following categories:

Fiction > Classics
Fiction > Literary
Fiction > African American > Urban Life
Fiction > African American > Christian
Fiction > Family Life
Nonfiction > Poetry > American > African American
Nonfiction > Juvenile Nonfiction > Poetry
Nonfiction > Poetry > American
Fiction > Short Stories (single author)
Nonfiction > Poetry
Nonfiction > Literary Criticism
Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography > Literary
Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography > People of Color
Fiction > African American
Fiction > Humorous
Nonfiction > Social Science > Ethnic Studies > African American Studies
Nonfiction > Literary Criticism > American > African American & Black
Nonfiction > History > United States > 20th Century
Nonfiction > Literary Collections > Letters
Nonfiction > Literary Collections > American > African-American

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