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Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance (Blacks in the Diaspora) Paperback – July 18, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Heretofore scholars have not been willing perhaps, even been unable for many reasons both academic and personal to identify much of the Harlem Renaissance work as same-sex oriented... An important book." Jim Elledge

About the Author

A. B. Christa Schwarz is an independent scholar and lives in Germany.

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Product Details

  • Series: Blacks in the Diaspora
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (July 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253216079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253216076
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gary Holcomb on July 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure why the other two reviewers found Christa Schwarz's Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance difficult to read. I find Schwarz's prose clear and natural and her organizational scheme transparent. More important, Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance is a valuable contribution to black and queer studies--Schwarz's scholarship is impressive and thorough. Until this book appeared, the critical question of how queer genealogy intersected with the New Negro literary movement tended to be localized in debates over individual authors, such as the question of Langston Hughes's sexual orientation. But Schwarz's book does much more than merely consolidate archives into a single text. Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance performs the necessary labor of demonstrating that to talk of the Harlem Renaissance is to speak of the beginning of the queer revolution in the U.S., to suggest that among the emancipatory products of the New Negro was queer counterculture. The significance of Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance cannot be understated.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Elaine on August 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Honestly, the book is a a difficult read in some spots. Some items may require a second reading just to make sure the point is taken the way it is meant by Schwarz. That said, it is not an impossible read. Usually, Langston Hughes is the primary focus of such detailed scharlarship. This book examines Nugent, Cullen, and McKay who were, in their distinctive ways, just as important as Hughes in contributing to the Harlem Renaissance. All men were gay and dealed with their sexuality in print in a the mannor comfortable to them. Hughes, Cullen, and McKay employed Whitmanesque techniques and Nugent was completely unguarded in his sexual proclivities. For me, that Hughes and Nugent were both gay and yet showed different tastes in men and how they dealed with their sexuality is so interesting. The two men are the same and yet polar opposites of one another. Anyway, the reader will be happy with this book. Such work as Schawrz provides a new way of reading and re-reading these important figures in general literature and adds to the growing study of literature by gay African Americans, an under represented and all to often overlooked area of study.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Kelley on July 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
A.B. Christa Schwarz's GAY VOICES OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE isn't an easy read. Barring the first two chapters, "Gay harlem and the Harlem Renaissance" and "Writing in the Harlem Renaissance....Burden of Representation and Sexual Dissidence," the remaining chapters will need a second or third reading for a coherent understanding for those interested in her discussion.

Ms. Schwarz looks at the work of three male writers from the period who are given their own chapters: Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Richard Bruce Nugent. Of these writers, Cullen, Hughes, and McKay are identified as using

Whitmanesque techniques to express in coded forms their desire for those members of their own sex. For the none initiated, Walt Whitman often changed male gender specific pronouns in his poetry to the feminine form for public consumption. Bruce Nugent was the only one of this group out and open, to some extent, with his sexuality in work and life, even during the down low days in his marriage of comformity.

Of the writers featured here, Countee Cullen is known to have had a few affairs with black and white men as Claude McKay. Cullen was the only one to envelope much of his work in the traditional European framework. Even his funeral many years later was staid in the European tradition of ceremony, contrary to the funeral of Langston Hughes who embraced his blackness in a funeral ceremony far, far away from the white American and

European traditional dogma and form. Langston Hughes wrote primarily for a black audience, celebrated his blackness with radical pride, and avoided with great distaste the traditional European style in the framework and subject matter of his body of work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Leon on January 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must have for anyone interested in the monumental literary contributions of Men Of Color who were also LGBT. Fascinating.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hannes on September 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
A. B. Christa Schwarz wrote a really learned book. Maybe it's the only way a German scholar can write. Not always easy to read it's a interesting study to read not only for literary historians. The study is a must for everyone interested in the Harlem Renaissance as a literary phenomenon. Schwarz focuses on Countze Cullen, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay and Richard Bruce Nugent. Readers learn a lot about Alain Locke as well. Locke played a leading role in the Harlem Renaissance. Maybe Schwartz' next book will tell us more about Locke. We are waiting for it.
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