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The Harlem Renaissance comes to vivid life in the spirited, 40-year-long correspondence between the black novelist and poet Langston Hughes and the music and dance critic Carl Van Vechten, a flamboyant white critic, writer and photographer.
Hughes was twenty-two and Van Vechten forty-four when they began a friendship that would last until Van Vechten’s death. Between them they knew everyone from Zora Neale Hurston to Richard Wright, and their letters are filled with gossip about the great and the forgotten, as well as with talk that ranged from race relations to blues lyrics to Harlem nightlife. It’s a correspondence that, as Emily Bernard notes in her introduction, provides “an unusual record of entertainment, politics, and culture as seen through the eyes of two fascinating and irreverent men.”
“Meticulously annotated…serves up a textured, ribald and frequently poignant interracial friendship between two remarkable talents.”–David Levering Lewis, The New York Times Book Review
“If you’re interested in the Harlem Renaissance, you can’t afford to miss this book.”–Vibe