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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    "Pressing on Life Until It Gave Back Something in Kinship": An Introductory Essay / Robert G. O'Meally  1
    Part I. Life and Times
    Putting Something over Something Else / Calvin Tomkins  31
    Interview with Romare Bearden / Henri Ghent  54
    Part II. Writings
    The Negro Artist and Modern Art / Romare Bearden  87
    The Negro Artist's Dilemma / Romare Bearden  91
    The Journal of Romare Bearden: 1947 to 1949 / Romare Bearden  99
    Rectangular Structure in My Montage Paintings / Romare Bearden  121
    The Twenties and the Black Renaissance / Romare Bearden and Harry Henderson  133
    The 1930s: An Art Reminiscence / Romare Bearden  156
    Humility / Romare Bearden  162
    Encounters with African Art / Romare Bearden  164
    Part III. Reflections on a Layered Legacy
    Bearden: Black Life on Its Own Terms / August Wilson  175
    Abrupt Stops and an Unexpected Liquidity: The Aesthetics of Romare Bearden / Toni Morrison  178
    The Genius of Romare Bearden / Elizabeth Alexander  185
    The Art of Romare Bearden / Ralph Ellison  196
    Bearden / Ralph Ellison  204
    Between the Shadow and the Act / John Edgar Wideman  209
    Romare Bearden: African American Modernism at Mid-Century / Kobena Mercer  217
    Bearden Plays Bearden / Albert Murray  236
    The Political Bearden / Brent Hayes Edwards  256
    Circe in Black: Homer, Toni Morrison, Romare Bearden / Farah Jasmine Griffin  270
    Conjure and Collapse in the Art of Romare Bearden / Rachael Delue  281
    Changing, Conjuring Reality / Richard Powell  296
    Romare Bearden's Li'l Dan the Drummer Boy: Coloring a Story of the Civil War / Robert Burns Stepto  307
    Impressions and Improvisations: A Look at the Prints of Romare Bearden / Mary Lee Corlett  315
    Bearden's Caribbean Dimension / Sally Price and Richard Price  351
    Romare Bearden, an Idelible Imprint / David C. Driskell  379
  • Brent Hayes Edwards

    Farah Jasmine Griffin

    Toni Morrison

    Richard Price

    Sally Price

    Myron Schwartzman

    John Edgar Wideman

  • The Romare Bearden Reader is for all those—both in and outside the academy—who continue to be enchanted by Bearden's art and are eager to see and learn more about the work of this tremendous artist. This volume is the definitive Bearden anthology.” — Margo Natalie Crawford, author of, Black Post-Blackness: The Black Arts Movement and Twenty-First-Century Aesthetics

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  • Description

    The Romare Bearden Reader brings together a collection of new essays and canonical writings by novelists, poets, historians, critics, and playwrights. The contributors, who include Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, August Wilson, Farah Jasmine Griffin, and Kobena Mercer, contextualize Bearden's life and career within the history of modern art, examine the influence of jazz and literature on his work, trace his impact on twentieth-century African American culture, and outline his art's political dimensions. Others focus on specific pieces, such as A Black Odyssey, or the ways in which Bearden used collage to understand African American identity. The Reader also includes Bearden's most important writings, which grant readers insight into his aesthetic values and practices and share his desire to tell what it means to be black in America. Put simply, The Romare Bearden Reader is an indispensable volume on one of the giants of twentieth-century American art.

    Contributors. Elizabeth Alexander, Romare Bearden, Mary Lee Corlett, Rachel DeLue, David C. Driskell, Brent Hayes Edwards, Ralph Ellison, Henri Ghent, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Kobena Mercer, Toni Morrison, Albert Murray, Robert G. O’Meally, Richard Powell, Richard Price, Sally Price, Myron Schwartzman, Robert Burns Stepto, Calvin Tomkins, John Edgar Wideman, August Wilson

    About The Author(s)

    Robert G. O’Meally is Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, and the author and editor of several books, including Antagonistic Cooperation: The Jazz Works of Romare Bearden, Toni Morrison, and Ralph Ellison and Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies.
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