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Comment: Very Good. Light shelf wear. Crisp and tight; unmarked text.
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Porgy Hardcover – November 4, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The first major southern novel to portray African Americans outside of stereotypes --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Heyward was a central figure in both the Charleston and the Southern Renaissance. His influence extended to the Harlem Renaissance as well. However, Heyward is often remembered simply as the author of Porgy.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Pomona Press; Reprint edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1443734721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443734721
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,908,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Spured by jazz, blues, and the legendary "Harlem Renassiance," the 1920s saw a sudden general curiosity about African-American culture, which many considered outside the mainstream and therefore exotic. A resident of Charleston, South Carolina, DuBose Heyward observed the black underclass of the city and in 1925 published PORGY.

The novel was both a popular and critical success, but then as now many note that Heyward was writing from the outside: although his observation was acute, and although his portraits were generally both positive and sympathetic, Heyward was a white man. Given the social climate of the era, he was therefore not fully privy to the culture he scrutinized, and in consequence many have considered PORGY well-intended but intrinsically flawed and somewhat patronizing.

The title character of the novel is a crippled black man who lives in a slum named Catfish Row in the "Negro Quarters" of 1920s Charleston. Heyward paints the slum in colorful terms; no less so are the characters. Unable to work, Porgy exists as a beggar, using a goat cart to travel the area, and so pitiful is his physical condition that his earnings allow him enough for his room, his food, and the occasional crap game. At one such game a stevedore named Crown murders a fellow player--and in time Crown's woman, Bess, stumbles destitute into Catfish Row and Porgy takes her in.

Most readers of PORGY are likely to come to the novel from the celebrated opera PORGY AND BESS and will be quite surprised to discover that while Bess does indeed figure in the novel, neither she nor her romance with Porgy forms the focus of the book.
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Comment 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this. Its considerably different from the play and film, but I enjoyed it.

Since I'm a Black person who grew up in Charleston, I'm very familiar with the culture that spawned Porgy and bess. This book is DuBose Heyward's original story that led to the plays and film. Based on the real life beggar Samuel Smalls (whose story is told in detail in Damon Fordham's "True Stories of Black South Carolina), Heyward was very good at observing the Black culture of Charleston for a white man of his time.

The Gullah speech is recorded phonetically and accurately, which is a difficult task since it is more tonal and does not usually translate well into print. he also adds lesser known aspects of Black Charleston such as the Mosquito Fleet fishermen and the Jenkins Orphanage Jazz band. The type of flamboyant parade he describes in one scene still occur in Charleston's Black neighborhoods on Martin Luther King day and New year's/Emanciation day.

The order of some of the more famous sequences differs, as does the ending. More time is spent on sctual conversation between Porgy and Bess, and Sportin' Life is a lesser character in the book. There is also more interaction with White characters in the book which makes the racial aspects of the era more clear. The book is more a series of anecdotes than a linear story as is the play and film versions.

If you've heard the score or seen the movie, you'll enjoy this book. Those unfamiliar with Gullah may find the dialect difficult, but accurate.

Overall, a good little piece of social history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Porgy is a classic tale well known to most. I purchased the book with mixed emotions. One part of me was apprehensive about an Anglo-Saxon's interpretation of one "segment" of the black community is the early 1900s. Another part of me wanted to know the full story that has captured the hearts and minds of so many people of various backgrounds, as long as I can remember. Needless to say, I'm very glad I read the book.

Given the popularity of this story, I'm not compelled to analyze any aspect of it. I will just suggest that you read it for yourself. The book is short, sweet, and full of life. By the time you get to the end, Porgy and Bess will have softened your heart and made you glad for investing the time. However, be mindful that the book only depicts one segment of the community...by no means does Porgy reflect the experiences and struggles of all, or even most, of Charlestown's early 20th century "Negro" society.
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Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
This is the book that the musical, "Porgy and Bess' was based on....and it doesn't disappoint.
We had recently seen the Broadway "Version," and since it was so truncated, i had a burning desire to read the BOOK.
However, the prices were prohibative!!!! Fortunately, i was able to locate this Modern Library Hardback on Amazon for CHEAP, and EVERYONE was happy!!
Highly recommended!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Slice of life story-- Heyward depicts the life,culture and dialect of the Gullah Negroes in Charleston at this time; some quite humorous, others saddening-- the story reminds us that the poor live with the same passions and intrigues as the rich or better off; they are not more or less virtuous because of their poverty. And they must live with the consequences of actions they take--that ripple through individual and the community life-- just like today.
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