Chester B. Himes

Chester B. Himes

A Biography

Book - 2017 | First edition
Average Rating:
1
Rate this:
WW Norton
Winner of the 2018 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical WorkA Washington Post Notable BookThe definitive biography of the groundbreaking African American author who had an extraordinary legacy on black writers globally.
Chester B. Himes has been called “one of the towering figures of the black literary tradition” (Henry Louis Gates Jr.), “the best writer of mayhem yarns since Raymond Chandler” (San Francisco Chronicle), and “a quirky American genius” (Walter Mosely). He was the twentieth century’s most prolific black writer, captured the spirit of his times expertly, and left a distinctive mark on American literature. Yet today he stands largely forgotten.In this definitive biography of Chester B. Himes (1909–1984), Lawrence P. Jackson uses exclusive interviews and unrestricted access to Himes’s full archives to portray a controversial American writer whose novels unflinchingly confront sex, racism, and black identity. Himes brutally rendered racial politics in the best-selling novel If He Hollers Let Him Go, but he became famous for his Harlem detective series, including Cotton Comes to Harlem. A serious literary tastemaker in his day, Himes had friendships—sometimes uneasy—with such luminaries as Ralph Ellison, Carl Van Vechten, and Richard Wright.Jackson’s scholarship and astute commentary illuminates Himes’s improbable life—his middle-class origins, his eight years in prison, his painful odyssey as a black World War II–era artist, and his escape to Europe for success. More than ten years in the writing, Jackson’s biography restores the legacy of a fascinating maverick caught between his aspirations for commercial success and his disturbing, vivid portraits of the United States.

Baker & Taylor
An account of the improbable life of the controversial writer explores Himes' middle-class origins, imprisonment, creative experiences during World War II and eventual escape to Europe, where he became famous for his Harlem detective series and its themes of sexuality, racism and social injustice.

Book News
This biography traces the life and career of African American writer Chester B. Himes (1909-1984), drawing on interviews and Himes’ archives. It describes his middle-class origins, his eight years in prison for armed robbery and his writing while there, his career in the US, how he left for Europe in the 1950s, and the description of racial injustice in his works, such as If He Hollers Let Him Go, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Lonely Crusade, The Third Generation, The Primitive, Cast the First Stone, and Mamie Mason. Annotation ©2017 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Explores Himes' middle-class origins, imprisonment, creative experiences during World War II, and eventual escape to Europe, where he became famous for his Harlem detective series and its themes of sexuality, racism, and social injustice.

Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 0393063895 (hardcover)
9780393063899 (hardcover)
Branch Call Number: B HIMES
Characteristics: xv, 606 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Best Critical/Biographical

Nominated for Best Critical/Biographical.


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

l
lukasevansherman
Jan 01, 2018

The American writer Chester Himes is most known for his series of Harlem-set crime novels featuring the duo Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones. Perhaps because of this he's usually just thought of as a genre writer and has not received his critical due. Lawrence P. Jackson's ambitious new biography will go a long way to securing Himes's rightful place in the literary canon. Born in Missouri, Himes spent time in prison as a young man and his early fiction drew from this experience, as well as his experiences as a black man. He was friends (and sometimes rivals) with major black writers like Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin, but never quite achieved their fame. It was maybe more biography than I wanted, but Jackson's biography will likely be the definitive one for years to come and hopefully send more readers to Himes's novels.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at KCLS

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top