"THE 'DEAN' OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE": FIRST EDITION OF ALAIN LOCKE'S NEGRO AND HIS MUSIC, 1936, IN FRAGILE ORIGINAL WRAPPERS
LOCKE, Alain. The Negro and His Music. Washington, D.C.: Associates in Negro Folk Education, 1936. Small octavo (5-1/4 by 8 inches), original black- and red-stamped orange wrappers. $750.
First edition of the "only monograph on the music" of the Harlem Renaissance, affirming African American music's "central part of the philosophy and practice" of the movement, a splendid copy.
Acclaimed "the 'dean' of the Harlem Renaissance" (Alexander, 224), Locke "ranks with W.E.B. Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson as a seminal intellectual influence in African American culture" (Concise Oxford Companion, 260). The Negro and His Music sums up "a great deal of Locke's learning in music… [and] sketches a short but sweeping background about the role of music in American culture." He identifies three basic categories: folk, popular and classical, and pays close attention to spirituals, the blues, ragtime and jazz. "In each category Locke is able to demonstrate the social roots of the music as well as its relation to the national and historical frameworks" (Harris & Molesworth, Alain L. Locke, 305-6). This key work has "remained for well over a half century… the only monograph on the music of the [Harlem] Renaissance," affirming "that music was a central part of the philosophy and practice of the Renaissance" (Spencer, New Negroes and Their Music, xvi-xvii). It is No. 2 in the famed Bronze Booklet Series. Locke edited all eight volumes in the series, and also authored the same year's Negro and Art: Past and Present: together representing "a major accomplishment for Locke… an acknowledgement of the value of culture education in bridging the gaps in race relations" (Cain, Alain Leroy Locke, 58). Issued the same year in wrappers (this copy) and paper-covered boards: no priority established. Blockson 8100.
Interior very fresh, only faintest rubbing to bright wrappers. A handsome about-fine copy.