Search results for: chester-himes

Conversations with Chester Himes

Author : Chester B. Himes
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Himes was equally revealing in the many interviews he granted during his long and tumultuous career in America and France.

Chester Himes

Author : Matthew Lawrence Wilson
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A biography of the Black novelist renowned for his series of detective stories.

The several lives of Chester Himes

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The Writings of Chester Himes are colored by a fascinating blend of hatred and tenderness, of hard-boiled realism and generous idealism. His life was complex, his relationships complicated. How did this gifted son of a respectable southern black family become a juvenile delinquent? How did he acquire self-esteem and a new sense of identity by writing short stories while in the Ohio state penitentiary? Drawn from his letters, notebooks, memoirs, and fiction, this straightforward account of Himes's varied, episodic life attempts to trace the origins of his significant literary gift. It details the socioeconomic, familial, and cultural background that fed his ambivalent views on race in America. His Deep South childhood, his adolescence in the Midwest, his young manhood in prison, his years as a menial laborer, his struggle as an author in California and New York City, and finally his glory days as an expatriate and celebrity in France and Spain are plumbed deeply for their effects upon his creative urges and his works. In his native country Himes is recalled more as the author of successful detective novels such as Cotton Comes to Harlem than as a practitioner of the art of fiction. In France and Spain, his adopted countries, he is regarded as a literary master. This critical biography is the bittersweet story of a troubled man who found salvation in writing.

Chester Himes

Author : James Sallis
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“[A] smart, conscientious, often stylish biography” of the great African American crime writer of the mid-twentieth century (The New York Times). Best known for The Harlem Cycle, the series of crime stories featuring Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, Chester Himes was a novelist and memoirist whose work was neglected and underappreciated in his native America during the 1950s and ’60s, even as he was awarded France’s most prestigious crime fiction prize. In this major biography, literary critic and fellow writer James Sallis examines the life of this “fascinating figure,” combining interviews of those who knew Himes best—including his second wife—with insightful and poignant writing (Publishers Weekly). “Himes wrote some of the 20th century’s most memorable crime fiction and has been compared to Jim Thompson, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett. His life was just as spectacular as his novels. Sentenced to 25 years in prison for armed robbery when he was 19, he turned to writing while behind bars and, when released after serving eight years, published two novels. Their poor reception by the white establishment only confirmed Himes’s beliefs about racism in America. He eventually moved to Paris, spending most of the rest of his life abroad. While in Paris, he began to produce the crime fiction that would make him famous, including A Rage in Harlem and Cotton Comes to Harlem . . . [a] riveting biography.” —Library Journal (starred review) “Satisfying, thoughtful, long-overdue.” —Publishers Weekly “As intelligent, and as much fun to read, as a book by Himes himself. There is no higher praise.” —The Times (London)

Chester Himes

Author : Stephen F. Milliken
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Chester Himes

Author : Gilbert H. Muller
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Born in a Mighty Bad Land

Author : Jerry H. Bryant
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The figure of the violent man in the African American imagination has a long history. He can be found in 19th-century bad man ballads like "Stagolee" and "John Hardy," as well as in the black convict recitations that influenced "gangsta" rap. "Born in a Mighty Bad Land" connects this figure with similar characters in African American fiction. Many writers -- McKay and Hurston in the Harlem Renaissance; Wright, Baldwin, and Ellison in the '40s and '50s; Himes in the '50s and '60s -- saw the "bad nigger" as an archetypal figure in the black imagination and psyche. "Blaxploitation" novels in the '70s made him a virtually mythical character. More recently, Mosley, Wideman, and Morrison have presented him as ghetto philosopher and cultural adventurer. Behind the folklore and fiction, many theories have been proposed to explain the source of the bad man's intra-racial violence. Jerry H. Bryant explores all of these elements in a wide-ranging and illuminating look at one of the most misunderstood figures in African American culture.

America Noir

Author : David Cochran
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In America Noir David Cochran details how ten writers and filmmakers challenged the social pieties prevalent during the Cold War, such as the superiority of the American democracy, the benevolence of free enterprise, and the sanctity of the suburban family. Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone featured victims of vast, faceless, bureaucratic powers. Jim Thompson's noir thrillers, such as The Grifters, portrayed the ravages of capitalism on those at the bottom of the social ladder. Patricia Highsmith, in The Talented Mr. Ripley, placed an amoral con man in an international setting, implicitly questioning America's fitness as leader of the free world. Charles Willeford's pulp novels, such as Wild Wives and Woman Chaser, depicted the family as a hotbed of violence and chaos. These artists pioneered a detached, ironic sensibility that radically juxtaposed cultural references and blurred the distinctions between “high” and “low” art. Their refusal to surrender to the pressures for political conformity and their unflinching portrayal of the underside of American life paved the way for the emergence of a 1960s counterculture that forever changed the way America views itself.

The Critical Response to Chester Himes

Author : Charles L. P. Silet
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The work of Chester Himes is now undergoing a critical and popular reevaluation as it gradually comes back into print after years of neglect. His protest novels from the 1940s and early 1950s, his Harlem Domestic crime books, first published in France and later released in English in the United States, and his remarkable two-volume autobiography are now gaining a wider readership through their republication. Nonetheless, the critical writings on his work remain scattered and are often difficult to obtain. This collection of reviews and essays from both popular and academic sources traces the critical response to his work from 1946 to 1996 and thus sheds light on the critical reputation of one of the most distinguished but underrated African American authors. Himes has a wide international reputation, but this reference book focuses on those essays and reviews in the English language which provide a clearer assessment of his controversial literary standing in his native country, where his reputation has been most under debate. The book includes a balanced assessment of all his work, along with an interview with Himes's brother that offers some corrective commentary on his autobiography. The volume also provides a chronology, a checklist of his writings, and a bibliography.

The Death of Things

Author : Sarah Wasserman
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A comprehensive study of ephemera in twentieth-century literature—and its relevance to the twenty-first century “Nothing ever really disappears from the internet” has become a common warning of the digital age. But the twentieth century was filled with ephemera—items that were designed to disappear forever—and these objects played crucial roles in some of that century’s greatest works of literature. In The Death of Things, author Sarah Wasserman delivers the first comprehensive study addressing the role ephemera played in twentieth-century fiction and its relevance to contemporary digital culture. Representing the experience of perpetual change and loss, ephemera was central to great works by major novelists like Don DeLillo, Ralph Ellison, and Marilynne Robinson. Following the lives and deaths of objects, Wasserman imagines new uses of urban space, new forms of visibility for marginalized groups, and new conceptions of the marginal itself. She also inquires into present-day conundrums: our fascination with the durable, our concerns with the digital, and our curiosity about what new fictional narratives have to say about deletion and preservation. The Death of Things offers readers fascinating, original angles on how objects shape our world. Creating an alternate literary history of the twentieth century, Wasserman delivers an insightful and idiosyncratic journey through objects that were once vital but are now forgotten.