Poems Of Cabin & Field Black Slavery Negro Folk Art African Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poems Of Cabin & Field Black Slavery Negro Folk Art African Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Poems Of Cabin & Field Black Slavery Negro Folk Art African Paul Laurence Dunbar:

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This sale is for an original 1904 edition of "POEMS OF CABIN AND FIELD" by gifted poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar.


From 1899 until shortly after his death in 1906, PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR published six books of poetry in African American dialect, patterned ornately with Art Nouveau decorationby Alice Morseand illustrated extensively with photographs by the Hampton Institute Camera Club, positioning text and images with nearly equivalent emphasis.

Comprising half Dunbar's output of published poetry, and among his most popular volumes, the illustrated editions demonstrate Dunbar's substantial interaction with photography, and represent an early, extensive, and influential use of text published with photographs. Dunbar's "Poems of Cabin and Field" as well as his other 5 books remain defining monuments of text and image in the history of African American letters and U.S. publishing.

Following Dunbar's narrative, the majority of these competently-crafted images convey aspects of African American domestic life and material culture. Although some subjects were evidently costumed to correspond with descriptions in Dunbar's text, many rural subjects were photographed in their own homes and clothes, and appear to be reliable historical documents of the post-Reconstruction era in which they were made.

In spite of their posed nature, many of the images are also fair approximations of material conditions and rural African American life of antebellum slave culture but should be regarded critically when they seem to transparently depict "life on the old plantation."

The contents consist of narratives defined in eight subject titles:









Published in 1904, this book is in GOOD CONDITION! for its age and especially to be 109 YEARS OLD!!!! ALL PAGES ARE PRESENT!!! and nicely bound. There are no stray in text markings with extremely light blemishes. The text block is neat and clean. There is a previous 1906Christmas gift inscription, neatly scripted. It measures 6" X 9" and is complete with 125 pages. Bound in the publisher's original cloth of floral decorations in green and pink, with bright gilt lettering on the front board; makes this a very attractive book. The tops of the leaves are gilt with untrimmed fore-edges and bottom. The only significant detail some sunned areas on the back board. Otherwise, this heartwarming book would make a great addition to your vintage Black Americana collection so...GET IT WHLE YOU CAN!!!


Dunbar, Paul Laurence (1872–1906), poet, fiction writer, essayist, songwriter, linguistic innovator, and prophet. Paul Laurence Dunbar published in such mainstream journals as Century, Lipincott's Monthly, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Saturday Evening Post. A gifted poet and a precursor to the Harlem Renaissance, Dunbar was read by both blacks and whites in turn-of-the-century America.

Dunbar, the son of two former slaves, was born in Dayton, Ohio, and attended the public schools of that city. He was taught to read by his mother, Matilda Murphy Dunbar, and he absorbed her homespun wisdom as well as the stories told to him by his father, Joshua Dunbar, who had escaped from enslavement in Kentucky and served in the Massachusetts 55th Regiment during the Civil War. Thus, while Paul Laurence Dunbar himself was never enslaved, he was one of the last of a generation to have ongoing contact with those who had been. Dunbar was steeped in the oral tradition during his formative years and he would go on to become a powerful interpreter of the African American folk experience in literature and song; he would also champion the cause of civil rights and higher education for African Americans in essays and poetry that were militant by the standards of his day.

During his years at Dayton's Central High, Dunbar was the school's only student of color, but it was his scholarly performance that distinguished him. He served as editor in chief of the school paper, president of the literary society, and class poet. His poetry grew more sophisticated with his repeated readings of John Keats, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Burns; later he would add American poets John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Whitcomb Riley to his list of favorites as he searched ardently for his own poetic voice. But it was his reading of Irwin Russell and other writers in the plantation tradition that led him into difficulty as he searched for an authentic poetic diction that would incorporate the voices of his parents and the stories they told.

After graduating from high school in 1891, racial discrimination forced Dunbar to accept a job as an elevator operator in a Dayton hotel. He wrote on the job during slack hours. He became well known as the “elevator boy poet” after James Newton Mathews invited him to read his poetry at the annual meeting of the Western Association of Writers, held in Dayton in 1892.In 1893 Dunbar published his first volume of poetry, Oak and Ivy, on the press of the Church of the Brethren. That same year he also attended the World's Columbian Exposition, where he sold copies of his book and gained the patronage of Frederick Douglass and other influential African Americans.

In 1895 Dunbar initiated a correspondence with Alice Ruth Moore, a fair-skinned black Creole teacher and writer originally from New Orleans. Three years later he married Alice in secret and over the objections of her friends and family. During the years of their marriage, Dunbar began to suffer from tuberculosis and the alcohol prescribed for it. The Dunbars separated permanently in 1902 but remained friends, and Alice continued to be known as "the widow of Paul Laurence Dunbar" even after her 1916 marriage to publisher Robert J. Nelson. The Dunbars had no children.

Some African American critics saw a concession to racism evident in Dunbar's black dialect poetry, and while it is unlikely that any perceived concession was intentional, it can certainly be argued that dialect poems like "Parted" and "Corn Song" were more derivative of the plantation school than they were original productions of African American genius. Yet, during his lifetime, Dunbar's work was praised by Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W. E. B. Du Bois, among others.

A new edition of Dunbar's poems subsequently put long out-of-print Dunbar poems back on the classroom shelf, making it possible for teachers to acquaint a new generation of poets and scholars with Dunbar's work.


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Poems Of Cabin & Field Black Slavery Negro Folk Art African Paul Laurence Dunbar:

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