Cover: The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White in HARDCOVER

The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White

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$74.50 • £59.95 • €67.00

ISBN 9780674372627

Publication Date: 01/06/1996


560 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press


George Hutchinson’s The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White is one of those historical works that utterly and meticulously overturns most previous understanding of its subject matter. Hutchinson places the Harlem Renaissance in a wider context than previous commentators have done. He shows how the pluralist ideas of the Harlemites were part of much broader cultural and intellectual developments that took in pragmatism, the new relativistic anthropology of Franz Boas and a turn toward regionalism in fiction… Hutchinson’s enthusiasm for the pragmatist outlook gives the book an energy and urgency that takes it far beyond the bounds of its historical subject matter. It deserves to be read by all those interested not just in a crucial episode of American cultural history, but in the ideal and reality of multiculturalism.—Adam Lively, The Times Literary Supplement

A groundbreaking book… Much of what happened in the black creative world dovetailed with what was happening in the white artistic world, and vice versa. It’s difficult to separate the two, although it has been fashionable in recent years to single out artists in both camps and argue—unconvincingly…that certain black artists sold their souls to white hegemony… The brilliance of [this book] emerges from Hutchinson’s reconstruction of an era, especially his painstaking examination of the early years of the movement. Hardly a scrap of information has been ignored, and the rewards are plentiful… One finishes reading The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White with a sense of invigoration and hope.—Charles R. Larson, The Chicago Tribune

The great service of George Hutchinson’s comprehensive study is its unabashed willingness to acknowledge the many inconsistent philosophical and institutional influences on those who brought the Renaissance to life: all the ‘pragmatist philosophers, Boasian anthropologists, socialist theorists, and new journalists’ in the background… A landmark in the field.—Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

The greatest strength of The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White lies in the author’s portrayal of the discussions of concepts of nation and race that took place in the twenties in the United States. Hutchinson insightfully reminds us that contemporary controversies on multiculturalism, the canon and African American literature were initiated and anticipated by the Harlem Renaissance authors… The interdisciplinary qualities of this study make it highly recommendable to a wide academic readership, especially those engaged in cultural studies, American history and literature.—Pilar Sánchez Calle, Borderlines [UK]

Hutchinson’s study moves the Harlem Renaissance from the periphery of American life to the center. His courageous and sophisticated redefinition of ‘Americanness’ subverts the comfortable Jim Crowism of the contemporary academic discourse. His approach to American Studies calls for disciples, critical disciples anxious to move beyond their mentor.—Maria Diedrich, American Studies

Authoritative and challenging, complex yet lucid, this volume is a welcome addition to recent studies of the Harlem Renaissance and of American cultural pluralism more generally. Hutchinson has produced an elaborate cultural history of the interactions between those writers, editors, and publishers who helped create and sustain the image of the New Negro during the 1920s.—Martin Padget, American Studies

George Hutchinson presents to us in black and white the role of both black and white intellectuals in the shaping of the Harlem Renaissance… [A] well-researched and scholarly work.Indian Journal of American Studies

Hutchinson’s study opens necessary and provocative new critical directions.—S. Bryant, Choice

A refreshingly original analysis of a pivotal period in American cultural history. This book, in my opinion, is the most detailed and subtle study of the complex interplay between text and context, black and white, high modernism and the vernacular, in short, the hybridity that was the Renaissance.—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research, Harvard University

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