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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution
(1968)

Hill, Herbert
The negro writer and the creative imagination,   pp. [244 and 245]-255 PDF (11.0 MB)


Page 255

God Bless the Child, was published
to generally favorable reviews. Now
Miss Hunter in her second novel,
The Landlord, has arrived at a theme
which quite naturally lends itself to
powerful fantasy and intensity of vision.
The theme suggests a surreal world,
but Miss Hunter's style is essentially
straightforward and realistic.
Whatever the limitations of style,
Miss Hunter has succeeded in making
The Landlord into a powerful story that
suggests much more than it says on
the surface. Miss Hunter has indicated an
extraordinary imaginative talent in
The Landlord.
Among the many talented Negro novelists
recently published are William Melvin
Kelley, Bryant Rollins, Ernest J.
Gaines, Ronald L. Fair and John Killens.
Negro playwrights whose works have
been produced on or off-Broadway
include Lorraine Hansberry, LeRoi
Jones, James Baldwin, Ossie Davis and
Douglas Turner Ward.
Negro writers are today boldly
experimenting and are seeking new
means of expression. Thus, they are
bringing a new richness and diversity to
the literature of our time. Now, Negro
writers are using their own special
insight, using what Henry James called
"the angle of vision" to communicate
a critical sensitivity about modern
civilization. Of course, this awareness,
this "angle of vision" is the result of the
Negro's unique social experience, an
experience given to no other group
in American life.
tragically obsessed by race and color.
Now Negro authors are writing with
a new courage and freedom. They have
no reluctance in dealing with the
absurdities and terrors of the white
man's condition and at the same time
they are telling the truth about Negroes,
the most important truth that America
needs to learn.
The unique social experience of the
American Negro is the stuff of great
literature. It is the material of epic
poems, of heroic sagas and vast
panoramic novels. It is a story worthy
of the greatest writers and these will
soon emerge to transform into art
that experience which Richard Wright
in Twelve Million Black Voices
has described as follows:
The seasons of the plantation no longer
dictate the lives of many of us;
hundreds of thousands of us are moving
into the sphere of conscious history.
We are with the new tide. We stand at
the crossroads. We watch each new
procession. The hot wires carry urgent
appeals. Print compels us. Voices are
speaking. Men are moving!
And we shall be with them.
Today Negro writers are not writing
as some did in the past, to please or to
titillate white audiences; they are not
telling of quaint or amusing colored
folks or of exotic sensual Negroes
who exist only in the sick fantasies of
white people living in a society
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