By Claude McKay
Claude McKay (1889–1948) used to be essentially the most prolific and complex African American writers of the early 20th century. A Jamaican-born writer of poetry, brief tales, novels, and nonfiction, McKay has frequently been linked to the “New Negro” or Harlem Renaissance, a circulate of African American paintings, tradition, and intellectualism among international struggle I and the nice melancholy. yet his courting to the move was once complicated. actually absent from Harlem in the course of that interval, he dedicated such a lot of his time to touring via Europe, Russia, and Africa in the course of the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties. His lively participation in Communist teams and the novel Left additionally inspired convinced reviews on race and sophistication that strained his courting to the Harlem Renaissance and its black intelligentsia. In his 1937 autobiography, A good distance from Home, McKay explains what it capacity to be a black “rebel sojourner” and provides one of many first unflattering, but informative, exposés of the Harlem Renaissance. Reprinted right here with a severe advent via Gene Andrew Jarrett, this booklet will problem readers to reconsider McKay’s articulation of identification, artwork, race, and politics and situate those themes by way of his oeuvre and his literary contemporaries among the realm wars.
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My boyhood spent in various villages with that brother, spanned by the years between the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and her death: the indelible years of my ﬁrst reading of anything that was thrilling just for the thrill—the Waverly novels; Dickens in small sardine-packed words, bound in thin blue covers; the tomes of Mrs. Henry Wood, Charlotte M. Braeme, Miss Braddon, Mrs. Southworth, Marie Corelli. . And suddenly like a comet the discovery of the romance of science in Huxley’s Man’s Place in Nature and Haeckel’s The Riddle at the Universe.
And suddenly like a comet the discovery of the romance of science in Huxley’s Man’s Place in Nature and Haeckel’s The Riddle at the Universe. Frank Harris was a little surprised at my coming by free-thought at such an early age—before I was fourteen. So I explained that my brother was a free-thinker (although at the same time a denominational school-teacher and lay preacher), and that when he became aware of my omnivorous reading he put his free-thought literature in my way. Thus I grew up without religious instruction at home, I told him.
For more information about the tense relationship between Locke and McKay, see Cooper, Claude McKay, 225, 261, 320, and George Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1995), 131. McKay quoted in Cooper, Claude McKay, 307. 000 fm (i-xl) 12/5/06 2:34 PM Page xxxviii 000 fm (i-xl) 12/5/06 2:34 PM Page xxxix a note on the text The following is a reprint of the text of A Long Way from Home by Claude McKay, originally published in 1937 by Lee Furman, Inc.
A Long Way from Home (Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the Americas) by Claude McKay