American Literature by Negro Authors



American Literature by Negro Authors

This edition

"American Literature by Negro Authors" . Ed. Herman Dreer. New York: Macmillan, 1950. xvii+334 pp.

Table of contents


Publisher's description

Publisher's circular (4 pp.) announcing the appearance of this volume is available online via the W. E. B. Du Bois Papers at U of Massachusetts, Amherst, Libraries, Special Collections:

Reviews and notices of anthology

• Lash, John S. "Scholastic Literature and the Negro Author." Rev. of "American Literature by Negro Authors", by Herman Dreer. "Phylon" 12.1 (1951): 89-90. "JSTOR". The volume is intended as a textbook for high school classes, "presumably in Negro schools since no white authors are included" (89). However, "the editor permits his material to lapse into the commercial, // the provincial, and the juvenile. Certain of the standard authors and pieces are included, with editorial comment which is sometimes over-simplified. Also included, however, as 'representative' or 'rising' authors is a Mound City [i.e. St. Louis] "literati" which displaces such well known names as Richard Wright, Willard Motley, Margaret Walker, Robert Hayden, Ann Petry and others in the several categories of literature. Professor Dreer explains, of course, that 'much realistic material, though regarded by some as showing artistic skill, has been omitted as unsuitable for classroom use.' Unfortunately, much of the work of the St. Louis group, to which one-fifth of the anthology is devoted, is puerile" (89-90). "Perhaps the greatest fault of the anthology as a text is that it subordinates the strength and virility of Negro authorship to such commercial products as dialect, broad farce-humor, sterile piousness, and namby-pamby emotionalism. Where maturing boys and girls in our social order require good red meat, and are often given pablum, Professor Dreer supplies baby food" (90).

Commentary on anthology

• "The brief classified bibliography (pp. 327-332) of this study [sic] includes entries for folk literature, poetry, biography and autobiography, essays, addresses, fiction (short stories and novels), drama, history, and magazines. Also gives a list of black American periodicals for 1950. Dreer introduces each writer with a bio-bibliographical sketch" (Rowell 1972: 33).

Cited in

Kinnamon 1997: 462

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