Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bascom's Collection Of Dorothy West Stories

Lionel Bascom's new book

Western Connecticut State University English Prof. Lionel Bascom's latest book, "The Last Leaf," a collection of Dorothy West's short stories, is scheduled for publication in Fall 2007 by St. Martin's Press.

Bascom says the title comes from "a reference West made to herself as the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance ." West's second and last novel, "The Wedding" (1995), was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. "The Last Leaf" will include one of West's unpublished short stories that Bascom uncovered in the Library of Congress archives. This story was published in Connecticut Review in 2001 and later included in "America's Best Short Stories."

Publication of "The Last Leaf" has been delayed because of probate issues. West died in 1998, and Bascom needed permission from her estate to move forward with the project. Bascom next plans to write a literary biography of West, whom he calls his "literary grandmother."

In 1999, Bascom published "A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Voices of an American Community" (HarperCollins).

A Renaissance in Harlem
reviewed by Library Journal:

Digging beneath the glitter of the African American artistic outpouring early in this century dubbed the Harlem Renaissance, journalist Bascom unearths another Harlem from forgotten WPA Writer's Project manuscripts in the Library of Congress.

Selecting 50 pieces by 11 WPA writers who worked in Harlem in the 1930s, Bascom challenges standard versions of the Renaissance's dimensions--everything from when it began and ended to its content and style. His selections take us beyond the close-knit circle of black intellectuals usually credited with producing the fruits of the most celebrated post-Civil War, pre-Civil Rights season of African American self-discovery.

The pieces resound not with the voices of the glitterati but with a vernacular chorus about everyday life during the Great Negro Migration. (That migration, which brought blacks from the rural South to the urban North in massive numbers, changed not merely the complexion of upper Manhattan but transformed it into the world's black capital.) This important book promises to shift discussions about Harlem, the Renaissance, New York, and Depression-era America in popular culture, literature, history, and folklore. Highly recommended.--Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.


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