Title: The Other Black List
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Book Condition: New
Num Pages: 368 pages, 28 black & white illustrations. BIC Classification: 1KBB; 3JJPG; JFC; JFSL3. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 236 x 154 x 27. Weight in Grams: 654. . 2014. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780231152709
Synopsis: Mary Helen Washington recovers the vital role of 1950s leftist politics in the works and lives of modern African American writers and artists. While most histories of McCarthyism focus on the devastation of the blacklist and the intersection of leftist politics and American culture, few include the activities of radical writers and artists from the Black Popular Front. Washington's work incorporates these black intellectuals back into our understanding of mid-twentieth-century African American literature and art and expands our understanding of the creative ferment energizing all of America during this period. Mary Helen Washington reads four representative writers -- Lloyd Brown, Frank London Brown, Alice Childress, and Gwendolyn Brooks -- and surveys the work of the visual artist Charles White. She traces resonances of leftist ideas and activism in their artistic achievements and follows their balanced critique of the mainstream liberal and conservative political and literary spheres. Her study recounts the targeting of African American as well as white writers during the McCarthy era, reconstructs the events of the 1959 Black Writers' Conference in New York, and argues for the ongoing influence of the Black Popular Front decades after it folded. Defining the contours of a distinctly black modernism and its far-ranging radicalization of American politics and culture, Washington fundamentally reorients scholarship on African American and Cold War literature and life.
Review: A wonderful combination of careful research, adept historicizing, and insightful close reading. Mary Helen Washington's book brings needed critical attention to understudied figures and helps readers rethink the careers of others whom they believe they already know. -- James Smethurst, author of The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance and The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s [A] compelling look at artists and writers who became part of the vanguard of the progressive politics and civil rights movement of the 1960s. Booklist (starred review) Groundbreaking...thought-provoking. Publishers Weekly (starred review) Well-thought, highly readable and timely. Huffington Post Washington builds a strong and much-needed case against purely aesthetic interpretations of 1950s African American literature. Highly recommended. CHOICE Insightful, densely researched, and engaging... Washington resoundingly demonstrates the importance of the Black Popular Front to the postwar black literary tradition. Women's Review of Books Washington's brilliant, intimate and highly readable new book capstones an important era of post-Cold War scholarship of the legacy of American Communism and African American literature... no book in recent memory more boldly confronts and dismantles the political apparatus of literary commemoration. Solidarity Washington's excellent book contributes powerfully to a strand of scholarship that is transforming our understanding of post-World War II American intellectual and cultural history... Deeply researched, persuasively argued, and much-needed. Journal of American History As literary and cultural history, Washington's book offers a vast resource... Readers who are eager to place the postwar period in the context of 1930s and '40s historiography of the left as well as the period of black nationalism that followed in the 1960s will rejoice in these pages. The Los Angeles Review of Books
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