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Langston Hughes, Shakespeare in Harlem, 1st ed. Inscribed & Signed

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Langston Hughes Shakespeare in Harlem, 1st edition, signed and inscribed.

Hughes was called the Shakespeare of Harlem and the neighborhood’s poet laureate.

By the time Hughes produced Shakespeare in Harlem, in 1942, he had already made a name for himself as a poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer and more. This was the first book of poetry he wrote after moving permanently to Harlem in the early 1940s (he had also lived there in the 1920s). He was also writing a column for the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper. The Chicago Defender is still published today.

Hughes did not like the drawing on the dust cover. He considered the symbols of a wishbone and dice  “tawdry”  and cliche symbols of black people. He wasn’t the only one. When the book was published, several of his supporters and friends complained about the cover and the publisher’s choice of a white illustrator when there were African American artists who could have been chosen. Hughes had the same complaint. The publisher agreed to change the cover for future editions.

Beautiful collection from The Negro Poet Laureate. Inscribed and signed to Margaret April. Margaret worked for Chicago bookseller Stuart Brent for many years.  Very scarce!

Very good; dust jacket.

Hughes, Langston in SHAKESPEARE IN HARLEM. Signed and Inscribed. With drawings by E. McKnight Kauffer. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1942. 1st edition, 124p., frontispiece, illustrated.