The Harlem Renaissance and the Idea of a New Negro Reader
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
In The Harlem Renaissance and the Idea of a New Negro Reader, Shawn Anthony Christian argues that print-based addresses to African Americans are a defining but understudied component of the Harlem Renaissance. Especially between 1919 and 1930, these writers promoted diverse racial representation as a characteristic of "good literature" both to exhibit black literacy and to foster black readership. Drawing on research from print culture studies, histories of racial uplift, and studies of modernism, Christian demonstrates the importance of this focus on the African American reader in influential periodicals such as The Crisis and celebrated anthologies such as The New Negro. Christian illustrates that the drive to develop and support black readers was central in the poetry, fiction, and drama of the era.
"Christian has produced an impeccably researched and illuminating study of reading and writing during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance and the Idea of a New Negro Reader has great appeal for general readers interested in the Harlem Renaissance, the black press, literature of the twenties and thirties, and print culture studies."—Verner Mitchell, author of This Waiting for Love: Helene Johnson, Poet of the Harlem Renaissance
"Through insightful analysis of newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and even a course syllabus from James Weldon Johnson, Christian reveals an eager black reading public. Recommended."—Choice
"Christian's great contribution to our revised understanding of the Harlem Renaissance is that he refocuses our attention on the conditions that African American writers faced in the early twentieth century: a reading public that associated literature with white, largely European poets, playwrights, and fiction writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries."—American Literary History