The Chicago Renaissance has long been considered a less important literary movement than the Harlem Renaissance. While the Harlem Renaissance began and flourished during the 1920s, but faded during the 1930s, the Chicago Renaissance originated between 1890 and 1910, gathered momentum in the 1930s, and paved the way for the postmodern and postcolonial developments in American Literature. To portray Chicago as a modern, spacious, cosmopolitan city, the writers of the Chicago Renaissance developed a new style of writing based on a distinct cultural aesthetic that reflected ethnically diverse sentiments and aspirations. Whereas the Harlem Renaissance was dominated by African American writers, the Chicago Renaissance originated from the interactions between African and European American writers. Much like modern jazz, writings in the movement became a hybrid, cross-cultural product of black and white Americans. The second period of the movement developed at two stages. In the first stage, the older generation of African American writers continued to deal with racial issues. In the second stage, African American writers sought solutions to racism by comparing American culture with other cultures. The younger generation of African American writers, such as Ishmael Reed, Charles Johnson, and Colson Whitehead, followed their predecessors and explored Confucianism, Buddhist Ontology, and Zen.
This volume features essays by both veteran African Americanists and upcoming young critics. It is highlighted by essays from scholars located around the globe, such as Toru Kiuchi of Japan, Yupei Zhou of China, Mamoun Alzoubi of Jordan, and Babacar M'Baye of Senegal. It will be invaluable reading for students of Americanists at all levels.
Table of Contents
Part I: Interactions of African and European American Writers
Chapter 1: "The Chicago Renaissance, Dreiser, and Wright’s Spatial Narrative" -- Yoshinobu Hakutani
Chapter 2: "Chicago as Metaphor in the Writings of Dreiser and Wright: Tracing the Literary Lineage" -- Mary Hricko
Chapter 3: "Dreiser’s ‘Nigger Jeff,’ Wright’s ‘Big Boy Leaves Home,’ and Lynching" -- Michael Sanders
Chapter 4: "Chicago in Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, James Farrell’s Studs Lonigan, and Wright’s Native Son" -- Robert Butler
Part II: African American Writers and Race Issues
Chapter 5: "The Federal Writers’ Project in Chicago and Its Impact on the Second Chicago Renaissance" -- Mary Hricko
Chapter 6: "Wright’s The Long Dream as Racial and Sexual Discourse" -- Yoshinobu Hakutani
Chapter 7: "Frank Marshall Davis of Chicago and the Young Barack Obama of Hawaii" -- Toru Kiuchi
Chapter 8: "Landscapes of the Imagination: Clarence Major, Leon Forest, and the Black Chicago Renaissance" -- Keith Byerman
Chapter 9: "The Intuitionist and The Underground Railroad: Colson Whitehead’s Coping with Race Issues" -- Preston Park Cooper
Part III: Transnational and Crosscultural Visions in African American Postmodernism
Chapter 10: "The Western and Eastern Thoughts of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man" -- Yoshinobu Hakutani
Chapter 11: "Wright and Transnationalism: A Reading of Pagan Spain" -- Mamoun F. Alzoubi
Chapter 12: "Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo: A Reading through Confucianism" -- Yupei Zhou
Chapter 13: "Ishmael Reed’s Japanese By Spring: A Satire on the Western View of Japanese Culture"-- Toru Kiuchi
Chapter 14: "‘All Narratives Are Lies, Man, an Illusion’: Buddhism, Postmodernism, and Postcolonialism in Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage and Dreamer" -- Preston Park Cooper
Chapter 15: "African Legacy and Chicago Politics in Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father" -- Babacar M’Baye
Yoshinobu Hakutani teaches in the English department at Kent State University in Ohio, USA, where he is also a University Distinguished Scholar.