Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Collected Works (Readers) of Black Scholars

Friday, I was looking at some of the books in my friend Joycelyn Moody's library and noticed The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader (2012). It's a massive 600-plus page book that, given Gates's prolific career, hardly contains all of his writings. Looking over the Gates book reminded me of a few other "readers" that I've encounter over the years.

The first one that I recall coming across was The C. L. R. James Reader (1992). My friend Donald Garcia, a marvelous thinker with an expansive personal library, had the James book in his collection and shared it with me when I was studying at New York University in NYC in the spring of 1998.  Some years later, when I was in graduate school, I browsed the Angela Davis Reader (1998) and W. E. B. DuBois: A Reader (1995).

William J. Harris was one of my professors in graduate school, so I was certainly aware of the LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader (1991). Another grad school professor alerted me when Ishmael Reed's The Reed Reader (2001) was published. Identifying Reed's book also led me to The Cornel West Reader (2000). Later, I noticed The Michael Eric Dyson Reader (2004).

Last year, Beyond Boundaries: The Manning Marable Reader (2011) was published. In a way, the title of that book takes me back to the first Reader I encountered as Beyond a Boundary was the title of a well-known work by C. L. R. James.

I'm mindful, looking at those titles, that there are few available black women Readers/Collected Works. Angela Davis is there, but I'm not sure why we don't have a bell hooks Reader. We now have a collection of Toni Morrison's prose, What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction (2008); still, I'm curious about what a Morrison Reader that includes her prose and fiction would look like.  I have Elizabeth Alexander's collected poetry, Crave Radiance (2010), but now I wonder about the possibility of a Reader featuring her prose and poetry.

Black Intellectual Histories 
The Mis-Education of the Negro [Book Covers]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see an Adolph Reed reader, as well as one for Lani Guinier. Bell Hooks has had more than enough trees die in her name, imo.