Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Chester Himes and Doubleday.

Chester Himes, by Carl
Van Vechten, 1946.
LOC Prints &
Photographs Div.
In the summer 2011 issue of American Literary History, Emory U's Lawrence Jackson reconstructs the events concerning Doubleday's publication of Chester Himes's first novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945), that refutes Himes's version in his autobiography The Quality of Hurt (1972). The events include Himes receiving a Julius Rosenwald fellowship, meeting Doubleday editor Bucklin Moon, and hanging out with Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. Jackson also accomplishes some literary detective work to reveal FBI surveillance of Himes as a suspected communist, determine who removed material from Himes's book pertaining to a lesbian relationship, and describe Himes's dissatisfaction with the marketing of the book: "... he resented being classed with writers of crime fiction and sex melodrama" (300).

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