Monday, March 6, 2023

Langston Hughes as a Short Story Writer

Langston Hughes as a Short Story Writer

By Kenton Rambsy

Langston Hughes deserves special mention in a consideration of African American short story writers frequently chosen by anthology editors. More than forty of his stories were selected by editors in the dataset, yet he is primarily known as a poet. No single story by Hughes appears frequently in anthologies.

Many anthologies include his Semple stories, but there is not one story chosen by four different editors for their collections. Furthermore, Hughes’s short stories only show up in Comprehensive African American collections while Comprehensive American and special topics collections tend to only include his poetry and occasionally his essays.

The absence of signature short stories by Hughes as well as his reputation as a poet places him at a distance from the seven most anthologized black short story writers: Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara. Hughes and, for that matter, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Jessie Fauset, and Chester Himes were all prolific short story writers. Nevertheless, editors did not come to a consensus about works by those writers.
This entry is part of a series--A Notebook on The Geographies of African American Short Stories.

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