Editing the Harlem Renaissance

BookEditing the Harlem Renaissance

Editing the Harlem Renaissance

Clemson University Press: African American Literature


May 1st, 2021

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In his introduction to the foundational 1925 text The New Negro, Alain Locke described the “Old Negro” as “a creature of moral debate and historical controversy,” necessitating a metamorphosis into a literary art that embraced modernism and left sentimentalism behind. This was the underlying theoretical background that contributed to the flowering of African American culture and art that would come to be called the Harlem Renaissance. While the popular period has received much scholarly attention, the significance of editors and editing in the Harlem Renaissance remains woefully understudied. Editing the Harlem Renaissance foregrounds an in-depth, exhaustive approach to relevant editing and editorial issues, exploring not only those figures of the Harlem Renaissance who edited in professional capacities, but also those authors who employed editorial practices during the writing process and those texts that have been discovered and/or edited by others in the decades following the Harlem Renaissance. Editing the Harlem Renaissance considers developmental editing, textual self-fashioning, textual editing, documentary editing, and bibliography. Chapters utilize methodologies of authorial intention, copy-text, manuscript transcription, critical edition building, and anthology creation. Together, these chapters provide readers with a new way of viewing the artistic production of one of the United States’ most important literary movements.


'Editing the Harlem Renaissance is an outstanding and impressive text. This invaluable collection demonstrates the relevance of the Harlem Renaissance to African American literature and will result in generating productive and constructive discussion among scholars about editors and Harlem Renaissance texts.'
Sharon L. Jones, author of Rereading the Harlem Renaissance

Author Information

Joshua M. Murray is assistant professor of English and the pre-law and paralegal studies coordinator at Fayetteville State University. He specializes in African American literature with emphasis on the Harlem Renaissance, transnationalism, and autobiography & life writing. His work has been published in MidAmerica, Teaching Hemingway and Race, Critical Insights: Harlem Renaissance, and Gale Researcher. He has forthcoming articles on Claude McKay’s previously unpublished manuscript Romance in Marseille and Langston Hughes’s use of the oceanic as critical idiom for African diasporic kinship. He is currently developing a book manuscript that underscores the historical and literary significance of transnational liminality in the Harlem Renaissance. Ross K. Tangedal is assistant professor of English and director of the Cornerstone Press at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. He specializes in American print culture and publishing studies, textual editing, and book history, with emphasis in Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and midwestern literature. His work has been published in South Atlantic Review, The Hemingway Review, The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, Authorship, and others. He is a contributing editor for the NEH-funded Hemingway Letters Project (Cambridge UP) as well as associate editor for Volume 6 (forthcoming 2021). In 2018, Hastings College Press published Tangedal’s edition of John Herrmann’s Foreign Born, a lost novel of the American home front during World War I.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures9
Introduction: Editing the Harlem Renaissance13
Part I: Editing an Era25
1. The Renaissance Happened in (Some of) the Magazines27
2. The Pawn’s Gambit: Black Writers, White Patrons, and the Harlem Renaissance57
3. Clad in the Beautiful Dress One Expects: Editing and Curating the Harlem Renaissance Text75
Part II: Writers, Editors, Readers97
4. The Two Gentlemen of Harlem: Wallace Thurman’s Infants of the Spring, Richard Bruce Nugent’s Gentleman Jigger, and Intellectual Property99
5. Editorial Collaboration and Creative Conflict in Outline for the Study of the Poetry of American Negroes121
6. Jessie Fauset and Her Readership: The Social Role of The Brownies’ Book139
7. Pure Essence without Pulp: Editing the Life of Langston Hughes157
Part III: Editorial Frameworks175
Desegregating the 8: Digital Turn in American Literary History177
9: (Re-)Framing Black Women’s Liberation in the Classroom: Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Twenty-First-Century Editorial197
10: Editing Edward Christopher Williams: From “The Letters of Davy Carr” to When Washington Was in Vogue219
11. Editing Claude McKay’s Romance in Marseille: A Groundbreaking Harlem Renaissance Novel Emerges from the Archive235
Coda: Editing as Infrastructural Care253