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Arnold Rampersad

The Life of Langston Hughes

Oxford University Press

1987 Nonfiction

Rampersad-1987
With this final volume of his superb biography, Rampersad comes to the racist exclusion and crippling attacks from the right that forced Hughes to scramble for a meager living. Rampersad effectively conveys not only the complex, frustrating difficulties of Hughes’s work in poetry, opera, musical theater, children’s books, and popular history but the rigors and humiliation of his speaking tours and tormenting trial before the McCarthy committee.

Even when he was doing hackwork, the true artist in Hughes created in his Simple stories a beloved character kept brilliantly alive. This balanced, honest biography offers deep insights into a major artist’s personality and work as well as a sweeping view of American culture in his lifetime.

Arnold Rampersad is Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. He is the author of Days of Grace: A Memoir with Arthur Ashe, Jackie Robinson: A Biography, and he edited Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.

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Blog Posts about Arnold Rampersad

VIDEO: Arnold Rampersad On The Selected Letters Of Langston Hughes

Longtime biographer Arnold Rampersad said his new volume, The Selected Letters of Langston Hughes, reveals a "deeper, more complicated" man than the public has ever known. Sitting comfortably on stage at the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture, co-editors Rampersad and David Roessel, professor at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, spoke on the complexities of the man called the voice of "Negro America."  Rampersad, who has twice been honored with an Anisfield-Wolf award for his work on Langston Hughes, said that the writer's... Read More →

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards - Told Through Tweets

[View the story "77th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Ceremony" on Storify]   Read More →

Listen As Esi Edugyan, David Livingstone Smith, David W. Blight And Arnold Rampersad Discuss Race And Diversity

We won't spend too much time on an introduction today; let's get right to the meaty stuff. Recently, our 2012 winners all had a chance to speak with Dred-Scott Keyes on the Public Radio Exchange to discuss their books and the deeper themes within. Take a listen to David W. Blight and Esi Edugyan in part one, and David Livingstone Smith and Arnold Rampersad in part two: Read More →

Arnold Rampersad's Peers Praise Him For Lifetime Achievement Win

Rampersad-2012-P For someone as storied as Arnold Rampersad, sometimes the best words of praise come not from awards jurors or book critics, but from colleagues who have worked side by side with you for years. Shelly Fisher Fiskin, who co-edited Oxford University Press’ Race and American Culture series with Rampersad, wrote that there are few people more deserving of an award than her longtime colleague: Fiskin writes: An extraordinarily elegant writer, a meticulous researcher, and a scholar gifted with the ability to focus on what matters most about... Read More →

Biographer Arnold Rampersad Is The 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Winner

Arnold Rampersad, our 2012 Anisfield-Wolf winner, has a special tie to the Cleveland area, where our awards are hosted every year. As one of the nation's definitive biographers, he has covered noted Cleveland resident Langston Hughes in detail, publishing two volumes of The Life of Langston Hughes, served as editor of Collected Poems of Langston Hughes and Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes. We are looking forward to his remarks at the 2012 ceremony in September! Here's a few tidbits about our 2012 lifetime achievement winner that... Read More →
  • Rampersad-2012-P

    Arnold Rampersad

    Born: 1941

    Other Works

    • Melville's Israel Potter: A Pilgrimage and Progress (1969)
    • The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois (1976)
    • Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993)
    • Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997)
    • Ralph Ellison: A Biography (2007)

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