Making the Wright Connection

An Online Community for the Study of Richard Wright

New Publication

Posted on March 6, 2012 | No Comments

The Muse in Bronzeville: African American Creative Expression in Chicago, 1932-1950 by Robert Bone and Richard A. Courage was released in late 2011 by Rutgers University Press.

This dynamic reappraisal of a neglected period in African American cultural history examines Black Chicago’s “Renaissance” through richly anecdotal profiles of such figures as Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Walker, Charles White, Gordon Parks, Horace Cayton, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson, and Katherine Dunham. Coming of age during the hard Depression years and in the wake of the Great Migration, these artists and intellectuals produced works of literature, music, and visual art fully comparable in distinction and scope to the achievements of their counterparts in 1920s Harlem.

The Muse in Bronzeville will interest both the scholar and general reader and is suitable for use in twentieth-century American and African American studies courses.

The book is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers, but the best price for the paperback is $23.96, when ordered directly from Rutgers UP. Order online at Enter discount code 02AAAA11 . That code entitles you to free shipping and 20% off the list price of $29.95. There is also an electronic edition in Kindle, available from Amazon and priced at $16.47.

Early responses to the book have been very positive:

• Charles Bethea, curator of the DuSable Museum of African American History, comments: “Finally setting the record straight, the book brings to the forefront the cultural awakening of black consciousness exploding in the Midwest during the first half of the 20th-century. Bone and Courage masterfully blend the history of Chicago’s South Side as the incubator of cultural expression and the black aesthetic in page-turning prose.”

• Eminent historian David Levering Lewis writes: “Richard Courage’s monumental The Muse in Bronzeville completes Robert Bone’s ambitious Chicago project and provides a shift of focus in African American literary scholarship. Chicago finally emerges as the vibrant counterpart of the Harlem Renaissance.”

• Distinguished literary scholar Amritjit Singh observes: “The Muse synthesizes wide-ranging material . . . into a compelling critical narrative. . . . Bone and Courage move astutely from close readings of novels and poems to richly informative analyses of musical performances and visual works of art. . . . The authors have unearthed historical gems that extend or challenge our understanding of how various actors situated themselves during this turbulent period.”