On the Ruins of Modernity: New Chicago Renaissance from Wright to Fair (PB) (2012)

Within a rich cultural and political context, Miller proposes that as the centuries turned and the nation became more diverse, the great Chicago Renaissances-especially the literary and cultural ones-never really ended. The nation's cities simply became more richly complexioned and culturally nuanced. Hence, the great Popular and Cultural Fronts of the thirties resurfaced as the innovative Black Arts Movement of the late sixties and early seventies. By the last third of the Twentieth Century, Chicago epitomized a dynamism among several of the most gifted African American writers in the nation's history. In addition to Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright, these figures included Lorraine Hansberry, and, yes, the nearly forgotten Ronald L. Fair. As a whole, the four recentered the locus of literary artistry in the United States. Though the great trace of African American literary imagination had nearly always led through the Harlem Renaissance of 1920s New York, a new trajectory took a decisive turn toward the Great Lakes. It has taken until the early decades of the 21st century to realize that the cultural map of the last hundred years had already changed. This book, a startling epiphany of post-modern American culture, will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in national politics and history as well as bold innovations in literary form.
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R. Baxter Miller
ISBN 10:
Common Ground Publishing
Publication Date:
March 8, 2012