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Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872—1906) overcame racism and poverty to become one of the best-known authors in America, and the first African American to earn a living from his poetry, fiction, drama, journalism, and lectures. An author who achieved remarkable versatility, his work draws on language that is by turns folksy and formal, putting forth controversial vernacular dialects as easily as he delivers a hauntingly poetic scene.
This original collection includes the short novel The Sport of the Gods, Dunbar’s essential essays and short stories, and his finest poems, such as “Sympathy,” all which explore crucial social, political, and humanistic issues at the dawn of the twentieth century.
"This vital repackaging of Dunbar's works, ably edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin and David Bradley, will undoubtedly help restore his work to the stature it merits...the editors have assiduously culled fine examples of [Dunbar's] prose to supplement the poetry included here... Fishkin and Bradley's robust introductions to each section...are written in smart, accessible language...Even more valuable are the essays included here. They are indeed essential if Dunbar is to be properly assessed as a writer." —Washington Post Book World