Ask Your Mama

Langston HUGHES

add to my shopping bag

Item#: 127078 price:$3,800.00

Ask Your Mama
Ask Your Mama
Ask Your Mama
Ask Your Mama

"THEY ASKED ME… IF MY BLACKNESS, WOULD IT RUB OFF? I SAID, ASK YOUR MAMA": FIRST EDITION OF LANGSTON HUGHES' ASK YOUR MAMA, 1961, WITH MUSICAL TYPESCRIPT

HUGHES, Langston. Ask Your Mama. 12 Moods for Jazz. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961. Oblong octavo, half white cloth with multi-colored paper-covered boards, original dust jacket; with mimeographed 8-leaf typescript stapled at upper left corner. $3800.

First edition of Hughes' epic poem, hailed as a "milestone" in its celebration of African American blues, jazz and the tradition of the "dozens," together with a mimeographed typescript (presumably for performance) with occasional variations in musical cues from the book.

Hughes had been reading his poetry with jazz musicians for decades before creating this innovative volume of jazz poetry, dedicated to Louis Armstrong. In this landmark work he "fused jazz and other black music with the form called the 'dozens', a ritual of genial insult rooted in African American culture. Each of the 12 sections of the poem is attended by musical cues that are integral to its poetic meaning." Arna Bontemps early wrote Hughes with praise, declaring Ask Your Mama "a milestone in your writing career" (Selected Letters, 370n). To his biographer Rampersad, "the poem amounts to a bristling challenge to the established American social and political order" (Smithsonian Magazine). The accompanying mimeographed typescript, presumably intended for performance, includes occasional variations in the musical cues for the poetry. These typescripts are quite uncommon, with only six noted in institutional holdings, including one held with Hughes' papers at Yale. "First edition" stated on copyright page: portrait of Hughes on rear dust jacket panel from a photograph by Roy De Carava. Basis for the 2009 Carnegie Hall premiere of composer Laura Karpman's work, performed by renowned soprano Jessye Norman. Blockson 4712.

Fine condition.

add to my wishlist ask an Expert

This Book has been Viewed 111 Time(s).

Author's full list of books

HUGHES, Langston >