Hughes, Langston


Hughes, Langston

▪ American poet
in full  James Mercer Langston Hughes 
born Feb. 1, 1902, Joplin, Missouri, U.S.
died May 22, 1967, New York, New York
 black poet and writer who became, through numerous translations, one of the foremost interpreters to the world of the black experience in the United States. Hughes's parents separated soon after his birth, and young Hughes was raised by his mother and grandmother. After his grandmother's death, he and his mother moved to half a dozen cities before reaching Cleveland, where they settled. His poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," written the summer after his graduation from high school in Cleveland, was published in The Crisis (Crisis, The) (1921) and brought him considerable attention.

 After attending Columbia University (1921–22), he explored Harlem (Harlem Renaissance), forming a permanent attachment to what he called the “great dark city.” He worked as a steward on a freighter bound for Africa. Back from seafaring and sojourning in Europe, he won an Opportunity magazine poetry prize in 1925. He received the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Poetry Award in 1926.

      While working as a busboy in a hotel in Washington, D.C., Hughes put three of his own poems beside the plate of Vachel Lindsay (Lindsay, Vachel) in the dining room. The next day, newspapers around the country reported that Lindsay had discovered an African American busboy poet. A scholarship to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania followed, and before Hughes received his degree in 1929, his first two books had been published.

 The Weary Blues (1926) was warmly received. Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927) was criticized harshly for its title and for its frankness, but Hughes himself felt it represented a step forward. A few months after graduation Not Without Laughter (1930), his first prose work, had a cordial reception. In the '30s his poetry became preoccupied with political militancy; he traveled widely in the Soviet Union, Haiti, and Japan and served as a newspaper correspondent (1937) in the Spanish Civil War. He published a collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks (1934), and The Big Sea (1940), his autobiography up to age 28.

      Hughes wrote A Pictorial History of the Negro in America (1956), and the anthologies The Poetry of the Negro (1949) and The Book of Negro Folklore (1958; with Arna Bontemps (Bontemps, Arna)). He also wrote numerous works for the stage, including the lyrics for Street Scene, an opera with music by Kurt Weill (Weill, Kurt). A posthumous book of poems, The Panther and the Lash (1967), reflected the black anger and militancy of the 1960s. Hughes translated the poetry of Federico García Lorca (García Lorca, Federico) and Gabriela Mistral (Mistral, Gabriela). He was also widely known for his comic character Jesse B. Semple, familiarly called Simple, who appeared in Hughes's columns in the Chicago Defender and the New York Post and later in book form and on the stage. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, ed. by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel, appeared in 1994.

Additional Reading
Biographical and critical works include Faith Berry, Langston Hughes, Before and Beyond Harlem (1983, reissued 1992); Arnold Rampersad, The Life of Langston Hughes, 2 vol. (1986–88); Richard K. Barksdale, Langston Hughes (1977); Edward J. Mullen (ed.), Critical Essays on Langston Hughes (1986); R. Baxter Miller, The Art and Imagination of Langston Hughes (1989); Hans Ostrom, Langston Hughes: A Study of the Short Fiction (1993); and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and K.A. Appiah (eds.), Langston Hughes: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (1993).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Hughes, Langston — (1902 1967)    James Mercer Langston Hughes, one of the most celebrated African American poets of the first half of the 20th century, was among the few black writers to present serious dramas on Broadway. Raised by a grandmother who had lost her… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Hughes, Langston —    см. Хьюз, Ленгстон …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Langston Hughes — fotografiado en 1936 por Carl Van Vechten Nacimiento 1 de febrero de 1902 …   Wikipedia Español

  • HUGHES (L.) — HUGHES LANGSTON (1902 1967) Phénomène littéraire en quelque sorte, Langston Hughes l’est non seulement parce qu’il a pratiqué tous les genres, y compris la comédie musicale, mais parce qu’il est l’un des premiers Noirs américains à avoir vécu de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Langston Hughes — For other uses, see Langston Hughes (disambiguation). Langston Hughes Hughes, photographed by Carl Van Vechten in 1936 Born February 1, 1902(1902 02 01) Joplin, Missouri United S …   Wikipedia

  • Langston Hughes — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hughes. Langston Hughes, photographié par Carl Van Vechten, 1936 Langston Hughes (1er& …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Langston Hughes — noun United States writer (1902 1967) • Syn: ↑Hughes, ↑James Langston Hughes • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * Langston Hughes [ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Langston Hughes — Hughes, fotografiert von Carl Van Vechten in 1936 Langston Hughes (* 1. Februar 1902 in Joplin, Missouri; † 22. Mai 1967 in New York) war ein Dichter und US amerikanischer Schriftsteller der Harlem Renaissance …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Langston — is the name of two places in the United States: *Langston, Alabama *Langston, OklahomaLangston is a surname of English origin: *John Mercer Langston (1829 1897), U.S. civil rights pioneer, first African American member of Congress * Dr. Michael A …   Wikipedia

  • Langston — ist der Name folgender Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Langston (Alabama) Langston (Oklahoma) Langston ist der Familienname folgender Personen: John Mercer Langston (1829–1897), US amerikanischer Politiker Mark Langston (1960), US amerikanischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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