November 7, 2018 at 11:30am

Book cover image for Langston's salvation : American religion and the bard of HarlemLangston's salvation: American religion and the bard of Harlem

by Wallace D. Best

Published: New York : New York University Press, 2017

Call number: PS3515.U274 Z6173 2017

Publisher description: "Langston's Salvation offers a fascinating exploration into the religious thought of Langston Hughes. Known for his poetry, plays, and social activism, the importance of religion in Hughes' work has historically been ignored or dismissed. This book places this aspect of Hughes's work in the wider context of twentieth-century American and African American religious cultures. Best brings to life the religious orientation of Hughes's work, illuminating he helped to expand the definition of African American religion during this time. Best argues that contrary to popular perception, Hughes was neither an avowed atheist nor unconcerned with religious matters. He demonstrates that Hughes's religious writing situates him and other black writers as important participants in a broader national discussion about race and religion in America. Through a rigorous analysis that includes attention to Hughes's unpublished religious poems, Langston's Salvation reveals new insights into Hughes's body of work and demonstrates that while Hughes is seen as one of the most important voices of the Harlem Renaissance, his writing also needs to be understood within the context of twentieth-century American religious liberalism and that of the larger modernist movement."