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Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture$
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W. Jason Miller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035338

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035338.001.0001

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Poetry as Counternarrative

Poetry as Counternarrative

Retelling History

Chapter:
(p.116) 4 Poetry as Counternarrative
Source:
Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture
Author(s):

W. Jason Miller

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813035338.003.0005

The chapter looks into two of Hughes's closely related pair of texts—”The Negro” and “Mississippi”—both of which shift Hughes's poetic associations with lynching from Texas to the Mississippi Delta. It depicts the consequences of the censorship issues and accusations of communism in the 1950s. It stages Hughes's discoveries of novel strategies to address the topic of lynching in his poetry without being censored. It discusses Hughes's references to lynching as he discusses the subject under the guise of simply retelling history. The chapter examines “The Negro” where Hughes applied the skills of passing in person to the ability of passing poems into print and “Mississippi” where he responded to the lynching of Emmett Till.

Keywords:   poetry, counternarrative, Langston Hughes, The Negro, Mississippi, lynching, Texas, Mississippi Delta, Emmett Till

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