An ALA “Best of the Best” Book
The son of former slaves, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the most prominent figures in American literature at the turn of the twentieth century. Thirty-three years old at the time of his death in 1906, he had published four novels, four collections of short stories, and fourteen books of poetry, as well as numerous songs, plays, and essays in newspapers and magazines around the world.
In the century following his death, Dunbar slipped into relative obscurity, remembered mainly for his dialect poetry or as a footnote to other more canonical figures of the period. The Complete Stories of Paul Laurence Dunbar showcases his gifts as a writer of short fiction and provides key insights into the tensions and themes of Dunbar's literary achievement. The 104 stories written by Dunbar between 1890 and 1905 reveal Dunbar's attempts to maintain his artistic integrity while struggling with America's racist stereotypes. Making them available for the first time in one convenient, comprehensive, and definitive volume, The Complete Stories of Paul Laurence Dunbar illustrates the complexity of his literary life and legacy.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, introduced to the American public by William Dean Howells, was the first native-born African American poet to achieve national and international fame. While there have been many valuable editions of his works over time, gaps have developed when manuscripts were lost or access to uncollected works became difficult.
In His Own Voice brings together previously upublished and uncollected short stories, essays, and poems. This volume also establishes Dunbar's reputation as a dramatist who mastered standard English conventions and used dialect in musical comedy for ironic effects.
In His Own Voice collects more than seventy-five works in six genres. Featured are the previously unpublished play Herrick and two one-act plays, largely ignored for a century, that demonstrate Dunbar's subversion of the minstrel tradition. This generous expansion of the canon also includes a short story never before published.
Herbert Woodward Martin, renowned for his live portrayal of Dunbar, and Ronald Primeau provide a literary and historical context for this previously untreated material, firmly securing the reputation of an important American voice.
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