essay on Langston Hughes literature

Through Langston Hughes, Richard Rive was able to establish a literary relationship with Ezekiel Mphahlele and the other members of the Sophiatown Renaissance. Hughes has been very important also to Mphahlele. Probably Mphahlele’s essay on Langston Hughes, which appeared in Black Orpheus in 1961, was the first literary appreciation of this great American poet by an African scholar or literary critic. Finding a common and mutual literary master in Hughes, Rive and Mphahlele, as Rive indicates in Writing Black, maintained contact through letters, especially during Mphahlele’s twenty-year self-imposed exile. Hopefully, the future publication of these letters will guve us a unique view of our cultural history between 1957 and 1977. In writing an Introduction to the 1970 second edition of Richard Rive’s only novel, Emergency (original publication in 1964), Mphahlele was affirming the uniqueness of their literary projects. Emergency attempted to capture the historical circumstances surrounding the Sharpeville Massacre of March 1960. Appropriately, it is a fictionalization of that historical moment, rather than its mere sociological documentation. Imagination tather sociological instrumentalization, was at the center of Rive’s literary enterprise.

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Vertamae Grosvenor's Essay on Langston Hughes - NPR

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