Even as recent literary scholarship on African American writing during the period between World War II and the modern civil rights movement investigates the diverse literary genres and visual mediums with which black artists of the period experimented, the critical field remains intensely invested in studying the critical and commercial influence of the protest novel and its champion Richard Wright. Through the efforts of scholars including Gene Andrew Jarrett, Stacy I. Morgan, Stephanie Brown, and Lawrence P. Jackson, the touchstone narrative of the period now expands beyond Wright's practice of protest fiction, James Baldwin's denouncement of it, and the arrival of Ralph Ellison's modernism. While these new literary histories of the era offer complex portraits of figures including Frank Yerby, Chester Himes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and J. Saunders Redding, among others, who saw success in their time before falling into academic obscurity, examinations...

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