"OF CENTRAL IMPORTANCE IN 20TH-CENTURY AFRICAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE": LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF LANGSTON HUGHES' LAMENT FOR DARK PEOPLES AND OTHER POEMS, 1944, ONE OF ONLY 300 COPIES ISSUED
HUGHES, Langston. Lament for Dark Peoples and Other Poems. (Amsterdam: Van Krimpen), 1944. Slim octavo, original printed ivory wrappers: pp.(vii) 8-45 (1). $1700.
Limited first edition, privately printed, one of an unnumbered limitation of 250 copies issued with 50 numbered copies, featuring 29 poems together in book form for the first time, a fine copy in original wrappers.
This important collection features 29 poems arranged in five thematic sections: "The Dark," "Love," "Blues," "Interlude" and "Spiritual." The title poem, in many ways, directs Hughes' focus in the poems chosen for this privately printed volume. In that poem, "Lament for Dark Peoples," which appeared in a July 1924 issue of The Crisis, Hughes mourns "the coming of the caging of the red and the black into 'the circus of civilization'" (Rampersad, Life, 88). At the same time he "speaks with pride about (and out of) his African-American heritage… [and] emancipation not only for his own people but for everyone else" (Evans, "Racial Individuality"). That theme is also clear in "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" herein, where Hughes links African Americans and the world's colonized people, highlighting the valuable survival of their own distinct history and culture despite centuries of enslavement, genocide and diaspora. "Hughes sought to change the way people looked not only at African Americans and art but at the world… his specific commitment to depicting and strengthening the African-American heartbeat in America… gave him a place of central importance in 20th-century African-American literature and American literature generally" (ANB). Without rare glassine. Bruccoli & Clark III:161. Not in Blockson. Contemporary owner signature dated 1945.
A fine copy.