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ENGL.4010: Selected Authors: The Harlem Renaissance

web duboischarles chestnutt

      W.E.B. du Bois  1911  photo by Addison Skirlock PD             Charles Chestnutt at the age of 40                PD            


Week 1:
Pre-Harlem Renaissance (Late 19th century)
Readings: In Week 1’s folder, you MUST first read the class notes. If you do not, you will be lost. These notes are to help you get a sense of what was happening historically, politically, and artistically in the late 19th century—the years just prior to the Harlem Renaissance. 


  • Booker T. Washington “Atlanta Exposition Speech” [Online Handout/Link]. 
  • W. E. B. Du Bois “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington” [Online Handout/Link] (This is Du Bois’ response to Washington’s ideas about racial uplift for African Americans during Southern Reconstruction and afterwards). Charles Chesnutt “The Goophered Grapevine” [Online Handout/Link]
  • Pauline E. Hopkins “Talma Gordon” [Online Handout/Link]. 

Week 2:
Poetry: James Weldon Johnson and Georgia Douglas Johnson


  • Introduction to Double-Take, p. 19- Top of page 25
  • W. E. B. Du Bois "Criteria for Negro Art 
  • Alain Locke “Art or Propaganda?” [Online Handout/Link] 
  • Langston Hughes “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.”
  • “The Mastery of Form” and “The Deformation of Mastery” and the excerpt from Houston Baker’s Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance [Online Handouts/Links].
  • All of the poems by James Weldon Johnson and Georgia Douglass Johnson. 

Week 3: 

Poetry: Angelina Weld Grimké, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Anne Spencer and John F. Matheus:

  • “Introduction” to Double-Take, p. 25-Top of page 37
  • All of the poems by Angelina Weld Grimké, Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Anne Spencer’s poems “White Things,” “Lady, Lady,” and “Grapes: Still-Life.” 
  • All of John F. Matheus’ poems, his poem “Bell Mamselle of Martinique” 
  • Short story “Fog.”

Week 4: 
Alain Locke “The New Negro” and James Weldon Johnson "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man" parts 1-6


  • Introduction to Double-Take, pp. 37-39. 
  • Alain Locke “The New Negro” [Online Handout/Link]
  • James Weldon Johnson “Preface" The Book of American Negro Poetry 
  • James Weldon Johnson The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Parts I-6 

Week 5:
Johnson, Ex-Colored Man, Continued:
James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Parts 7-11.