BLACK CULTURE AND THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE by Cary D. Wintz

BLACK CULTURE AND THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Perhaps the most wide-ranging study yet of the Harlem Renaissance, the black literary/artistic movement of the 1920's and 30's. This is social, political, and literary history with its focus on literature as the unifying center; Wintz (Reconstruction in Texas, 1983; Texas Politics in the Gilded Age, 1983) offers less a critical analysis of the work produced by Harlem writers than as overview of that work as illustrative of the general concerns and interests of the Renaissance. Wintz begins by describing the political and social temper of pre-1920's Ante rica, focusing on race relations and on the political differences between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. He goes on to cover pre-Renaissance black writing and the large amount of Renaissance literature, presenting a detailed discussion of all aspects of the literary scene in Harlem: Harlem as black bohemia, downtown white patrons, black critics and promoters, the political agendas of both critics and writers. Wintz shows that the Harlem Renaissance was vitally relevant to the development of black consciousness and culture from the 1960's Black Power movement to the anti-apartheid demonstrations of the 1980's, and that its relevance will continue for subsequent black writers both here and abroad. Wintz covers a lot of material and at times seems a bit overwhelmed by it. Occasionally he repeats or contradicts himself, and he scarcely touches upon the development of the visual arts in the Harlem Renaissance. However, this is a useful book, full of lively and thorough portraits and giving a larger picture than Nathan J. Huggins' important critical study, Harlem Renaissance (1971), and being more analytical and scholarly than David L. Lewis' entertaining When Harlem was in Vogue (1981).

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
ISBN: 089096761X
Publisher: Rice Univ. Press