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Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology written by Venetria Patton


Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology written by Venetria Patton


In this important new anthology, Venetria K. Patton and Maureen Honey bring together a comprehensive selection of texts from the Harlem Renaissance-a key period in the literary and cultural history of the United States. The collection revolutionizes our way of viewing this era, since it redresses the ongoing emphasis on the male writers of this time. Double-Take offers a unique, balanced collection of writers-men and women, gay and straight, familiar and obscure. Arranged by author, rather than by genre, this anthology includes works from major Harlem Renaissance figures as well as often-overlooked essayists, poets, dramatists, and artists.

The editors have included works from a wide variety of genres-poetry, short stories, drama, and essays-allowing readers to understand the true interdisciplinary quality of this cultural movement. Biographical sketches of the authors are provided and most of the pieces are included in their entirety. Double-Take also includes artwork and illustrations, many of which are from original journals and have never before been reprinted. Significantly, Double-Take is the first Harlem Renaissance title to include song lyrics to illustrate the interrelation of various art forms.


Arranged by author, 23 essays and 155 creative pieces represent the artistic and intellectual range of the Harlem Renaissance. Featuring the work of women and men in equal numbers, and including overlooked writers as well as the major figures of the period, the book assembles poetry, short stories, drama, essays, and song lyrics. Artwork and illustrations from periodicals of the time are also included. Essays discuss the history of Harlem, jazz, discrimination against African Americans, and sexism. Brief biographies precede the work of each writer. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Library Journal

With this new anthology of Harlem Renaissance literature, Patton (Women in Chains: The Legacy of Slavery in Black Women's Fiction) and Honey (editor, Shadowed Dreams: Women's Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance), both at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, attempt to "restore and underline the importance of women's writing" and sexual orientation to the Harlem Renaissance. The balanced selection of women and men is similar to that found in Henry Louis Gates's Norton Anthology of African American Literature (LJ 2/01/97), but the inclusion of lesser-known figures and works is aimed at focusing on the ideology of the renaissance, gay and lesbian themes, and differences in gender-based issues. Countee Cullen, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston are among the authors represented, and the selected works include essays, poetry, prose, and drama, with lyrics and visual art used as illustration. The editors also break with the tendency to define the beginning and end of the renaissance with political events by focusing on specific literary works, which allows them to broaden the period to 1916-37. Both editors have done previous research in the field of African American women's literature and include a biographical sketch of each writer to underline how their gender, class, and sexual orientation shaped their work. Necessary for all academic libraries. Paolina Taglienti, Long Island Univ. Lib., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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