Amritjit Singh received the 2007 MELUS Lifetime Achievement Award at the 21st Annual MELUS Conference, March 22-25, 2007, at Fresno, CA
This book is the definitive collection of the writings of Wallace Thurman (1902-1934), providing a comprehensive anthology of both the published and unpublished works of this bohemian, bisexual writer. Widely regarded as the enfant terrible of the Harlem Renaissance scene, Thurman was a leader among a group of young artists and intellectuals that included, among others, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Bruce Nugent, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Aaron Douglas. Through the publication of magazines such as FIRE!! and Harlem: A Forum of Negro Life, Thurman tried to organize the opposition of the younger generation against the programmatic and promotional ideologies of the older generation of black leaders and intellectuals such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Benjamin Brawley. Thurman also left a permanent mark on the period through his prolific work as a novelist, playwright, short story writer, and literary critic, as well as by claiming for himself a voice as a public intellectual.
The Collected Writings of Wallace Thurman is divided into eight sections to highlight the variety of genres and styles Thurman practiced as he courageously pursued controversial subjects throughout his short and brilliant career. It includes Essays on Harlem, Social Essays and Journalism, Correspondence, Literary Essays and Reviews, Poetry and Short Fiction, Plays, and Excerpts from Novel.
Filling an important gap in Harlem Renaissance literature, this collection brings together all of Thurman’s essays, nearly all of his letters to major black and white figures of the 1920s, and three previously unpublished major works. These books are Aunt Hagar’s Children, which is a collection of essays and two full-length plays, Harlem, and Jeremiah the Magnificent. The introduction to the volume, along with the carefully researched introductory notes to each of the eight sections, provides a challenging new reevaluation of Thurman and the Harlem Renaissance for both the general reader and scholar.