Langston Hughes

Check out some of the poetry, prose, and plays written by Langston Hughes, the Missouri-born writer who became a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, or learn more about his life and work in these books at the library.

His work

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes
By Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes's poetry launched a revolution among black writers in America. The poems in this volume were chosen by Hughes shortly before his death in 1967 and encompass work from his entire career.

By Langston Hughes; selected and edited by David Roessel
In the small Pocket Poets format, this book collects a selection of the poems of Langston Hughes. From the publication of his first book in 1926, Langston Hughes was hailed as the poet laureate of black America, the first to commemorate the experience of African Americans in a voice that no reader, black or white, could fail to hear. Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, this small volume is a treasure.

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
Arnold Rampersad, editor; David Roessel, associate editor
Here is a complete collection of Langston Hughes's poetry - 860 poems that sound the heartbeat of black life in America during five turbulent decades, from the 1920s through the 1960s. The editors, Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel, have aimed to recover all of the poems that Hughes published in his lifetime - in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals, and in his books of verse. They present the poems in the general order in which Hughes wrote them, and also provide illuminating notes and a chronology of the poet's life.

Not without Laughter book jacket

Not Without Laughter (novel)
By Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, long recognized as a major American poet and an influential force in African American literature, brought to this, his first novel, the lyricism, humor, and sureness of touch that characterizes his award-winning poetry. This story reflects the joys and hardships of an African American boy growing to manhood.

The Best of Simple (short stories)
By Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes's stories about Jesse B. Simple – first composed for a weekly column in the Chicago Defender and then collected in Simple Speaks His Mind, Simple Takes a Wife, and Simple Stakes a Claim – have been read and loved by hundreds of thousands of readers. In The Best of Simple, the author picked his favorites from these earlier volumes, stories that not only have proved popular but are now part of a great and growing literary tradition.

The Political Plays of Langston Hughes
By Langston Hughes; With introductions and analyses by Susan Duffy
While his poetry and essays received much public acclaim and scholarly attention, Hughes' dramas are relatively unknown. Published here, are four of Hughes' most poignant, poetic, and political dramas, “Scottsboro Limited,” “Harvest” (also known as “Blood on the Fields”), “Angelo Herndon Jones,” and “De Organizer.”

His life

 An Autobiography book jacket

The Big Sea: An Autobiography
By Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, born in 1902, came of age early in the 1920s. In The Big Sea he recounts those memorable years in the two great playgrounds of the decade – Harlem and Paris. In Paris he was a cook and waiter in nightclubs. He knew the musicians and dancers, the drunks and dope fiends. In Harlem he was a rising young poet – at the center of the Harlem Renaissance.

I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey
By Langston Hughes
In I Wonder as I Wander, Langston Hughes vividly recalls the most dramatic and intimate moments of his life in the turbulent 1930s. His wanderlust leads him to Cuba, Haiti, Russia, Soviet Central Asia, Japan, Spain (during its Civil War), through dictatorships, wars, revolutions. He meets and brings to life the famous and the humble. It is the continuously amusing, wise revelation of an American writer journeying around the often strange and always exciting world he loves.

The Life of Langston Hughes (2 vol.)
By Arnold Rampersad
This highly praised biography was exhaustively researched in archival collections throughout the country, especially in the Langston Hughes papers at Yale University's Beinecke Library. It offers readers entrance to the life and mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest artists.

Langston Hughes: The Man, His Art, and His Continuing Influence
Edited by C. James Trotman
In March 1992, to mark the 25th anniversary of Hughes's death, a NEH series of public programs was presented at Hughes's alma mater, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. The articles here from that conference provide an in-depth exploration of many facets of the writer's life and work. The majority of the contributors knew Hughes, and this adds a personal dimension to their work.

Montage of a Dream: The Art and Life of Langston Hughes
Edited by John Edgar Tidwell and Cheryl R. Ragar
Montage of a Dream extends and deepens previous scholarship, multiplying the ways in which Hughes's diverse body of writing can be explored. The contributors, including such distinguished scholars as Steven Tracy, Trudier Harris, Juda Bennett, Lorenzo Thomas, and Christopher C. De Sands, carefully reexamine the significance of his work and life for their continuing relevance to American, African American, and diasporic literatures and cultures. Tidwell is a Professor of English at the University of Kansas and has presented at the Library before.

Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, 1925-1964
Edited by Emily Bernard
These engaging and wonderfully alive letters paint an intimate portrait of two of the most important and influential figures of the Harlem Renaissance: Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes. Remember Me to Harlem offers insight into an unlikely friendship, one that is essential to our understanding of literature and race relations in 20th-century America.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.