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Renaissance Man from Louisiana: A Biography…

Renaissance Man from Louisiana: A Biography of Arna Wendell Bontemps…

by Kirkland C. Jones

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0313280134, Hardcover)

In his youth a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Arna Wendell Bontemps matured into a renaissance man in the broadest sense, a person fully engaged in the life of the intellect. He contributed vastly to the culture of his era through his own writings--fiction, plays, poetry, children's books, scholarship, and criticism--and advanced it through teaching, librarianship, and as a sponsor and patron of other artists. This detailed and fond biography provides a thorough analysis of Bontemps's private and public lives. Author Kirkland Jones is effective at portraying Bontemps's Creole family background and childhood in Louisiana and California, his roles as rebellious but devoted son and loving and supportive husband and father, his fertile contributions to the arts, and his abiding commitment to service, which is perhaps most in evidence in his building of African-American library collections at Fisk University.

A colleague and friend of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and other outstanding African-American writers, Bontemps has been curiously neglected by biographers. Utilizing copious archival and interview materials in this carefully researched study, Kirkland Jones fills out the portrait of Bontemps that previously could only be glimpsed from biographies of his contemporaries and his published correspondence with them. In the process, factual errors about Bontemps's life are corrected. A work of painstaking scholarship, this biography nevertheless is written to appeal to young people and adults interested in this admirable and fascinating gentleman-scholar-poet as well as to students of American and African-American literature and cultural and intellectual history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:07 -0400)

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