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Not So Simple: Simple Stories by Langston Hughes (Paperback)
  • Not So Simple: Simple Stories by Langston Hughes (Paperback)
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Not So Simple: Simple Stories by Langston Hughes (Paperback)

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£26.95
Paperback 280 Pages / Published: 31/08/1996
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The "Simple" stories, Langston Hughes's satirical pieces featuring Harlem's Jesse B. Semple, have been lauded as Hughes's greatest contribution to American fiction. In Not So Simple, Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper provides the first full historical analysis of the Simple stories. Harper traces the evolution and development of Simple from his 1943 appearance in Hughes's weekly Chicago Defender column through his 1965 farewell in the New York Post. Drawing on correspondence and manuscripts of the stories, Harper explores the development of the Simple collections, from Simple Speaks His Mind (1950) to Simple's Uncle Sam (1965), providing fresh and provocative perspectives on both Hughes and the characters who populate his stories. Harper discusses the nature of Simple, Harlem's "everyman, " and the way in which Hughes used his character both to teach fellow Harlem residents about their connection to world events and to give black literature a hero whose "day-after-day heroism" would exemplify greatness. She explores the psychological, sociological, and literary meanings behind the Simple stories, and suggests ways in which the stories illustrate lessons of American history and political science. She also examines the roles played by women in these humorously ironic fictions. Ultimately, Hughes's attitudes as an author are measured against the views of other prominent African American writers.

Publisher: University of Missouri Press
ISBN: 9780826210883
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 485 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"In "Not So Simple, " Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper examines the character as he emerged in Hughes's columns, from the beginning to Semple's farewell in "The New York Post" in December 1965, by which time Semple was being decried by many as an anachronism that failed to reflect the growing complexity of black life in a turbulent time. . . . Ms. Harper . . . uses Hughes's own writings and other research material to place Jesse B. Semple against the backdrop of a rapidly changing America."-"New York Times Book Review"


"The fictional works of Langston Hughes have not yet received the scholarly attention they deserve. Harper's book will help to rectify this neglect. Harper traces the history of Hughes's short stories about Jesse B. Semple ("Simple"), published from 1943 to 1965, putting them into the context of their times and explaining the reasons for their long-standing appeal."-"Choice"


"Harper . . . has written the definitive account of the birth and development of a wise commoner."
-"Library Journal"


"The fictional works of Langston Hughes have not yet received the scholarly attention they deserve. Harper's book will help to rectify this neglect. Harper traces the history of Hughes's short stories about Jesse B. Semple ("Simple"), published from 1943 to 1965, putting them into the context of their times and explaining the reasons for their long-standing appeal." "Choice""


"In "Not So Simple, " Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper examines the character as he emerged in Hughes's columns, from the beginning to Semple's farewell in "The New York Post" in December 1965, by which time Semple was being decried by many as an anachronism that failed to reflect the growing complexity of black life in a turbulent time. . . . Ms. Harper . . . uses Hughes's own writings and other research material to place Jesse B. Semple against the backdrop of a rapidly changing America." "New York Times Book Review""


"Harper . . . has written the definitive account of the birth and development of a wise commoner."
"Library Journal" "


"The fictional works of Langston Hughes have not yet received the scholarly attention they deserve. Harper's book will help to rectify this neglect. Harper traces the history of Hughes's short stories about Jesse B. Semple ("Simple"), published from 1943 to 1965, putting them into the context of their times and explaining the reasons for their long-standing appeal."--Choice


"In Not So Simple, Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper examines the character as he emerged in Hughes's columns, from the beginning to Semple's farewell in The New York Post in December 1965, by which time Semple was being decried by many as an anachronism that failed to reflect the growing complexity of black life in a turbulent time....Ms. Harper...uses Hughes's own writings and other research material to place Jesse B. Semple against the backdrop of a rapidly changing America."--New York Times Book Review


"Harper...has written the definitive account of the birth and development of a wise commoner."--Library Journal


"Exhaustive research and a succinct prose style make Harper's text necessary for any complete analysis of Langston Hughes as a writer."--Studies in Short Fiction

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