Slave on the Block Essay

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In the following excerpt from a longer essay, Bruck provides a social, literary, and historical perspective on Hughes's short fiction, concentrating on the collection The Ways of White Folks.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967), according to many critics "poet laureate of Harlem" and "Dean of American Negro Writers," began his literary career by winning a poetry contest sponsored by the black magazine Opportunity in 1925. "The Weary Blues" was noted by Carl Van Vechten, through whose sponsorship Hughes was able to get his first contract with the noted publisher Alfred Knopf. Van Vechten, who acted as a main ambassadorial advisor and patron of black literature to white publishing firms during the 1920's, not only paved the way for Hughes' literary career but also became the "chief architect of his early success." Just as with [Paul Laurence] Dunbar and [Charles Waddell] Chesnutt, white patronage played a decisive role in the literary emergence...

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This section contains 807 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Slave on the Block Study Guide
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Slave on the Block from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.