Arnold Rampersad: my thoughts

Just some random thoughts:

A speaker Arnold Rampersad came to talk in Tweedy’s 11 am class, “African American Literature.” He related our class as well as Tweedys class (which I am in) with his discussion on W.E.B. DuBois and Langston Hughes he talked about how they related to each other and he even did the introductions for famous books like, “The Native Son” by Richard Wright.

I found him to be a very fascinating speaker he seemed to truly admire Langston Hughes he talked about some of his earlier poems and how they were more singular references where as in his later poetry the meaning was more community oriented. When we were reading Montage of a Dream Deferred he even brought up the fact that it was about the Harlem Renaissance and how their were multiple speakers which we discussed but I still thought it was cool that we were so on point even from a famous critics point of view! If you are interested in some of his critiques I put the ones relevant to are class below:

The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. DuBois (Harvard, 1976)
The Life of Langston Hughes (Oxford, 2 vols., 1986, 1988)

In addition, he has edited several volumes including the following:
Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

I actually read, “The Life of Langston Hughes” over the weekend and I think it truly helps understand him more as a poet. I would recommend everyone to read it! I think it is really fascinating and not a slow read at all.

In this volume, Rampersad traces Hughes’s life from his struggles in the early 1940’s, when his career was being threatened, to his death in 1967, by which time he was a famous writer and a artist whose poems, stories, and plays influenced writers in the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean. He talks about Langston’s coping with his vision of art and radicalism during World War II, but also his contributions to the war.

Despite all of Langstons trails Rampersad showed that he never gave up in striving to be an artist and his commitment commitment to black life and his passion for jazz/blues. It even talks about his relationship with Richard Wright (author of The Native Son). I think this biography of Langston is truly insightful and should be read in order to fully understand Langston’s true conflicts when writing and the true miracle of his success.

-Kristina Tkac 🙂

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One Response to “Arnold Rampersad: my thoughts”

  1. Kristina Tkac says:

    P.S. I read Volume 2 not 1 but I really should read the first one too!

    (I probably should have done that first but I did not…)