Dorothy West

A novelist and short story writer connected to the Harlem Renaissance. Her best known her novel is "The Living Is Easy" (1948), about the life of an upper-class black family. Dorothy... A novelist and short story writer connected to the Harlem Renaissance. Her best known her novel is "The Living Is Easy" (1948), about the life of an upper-class black family.

Dorothy West, the only child of of Rachel West and Isaac Christopher West, an ex-slave, was born in 1907 and raised in Boston. She first achieved fame with the publication of her short story "The Typewriter," which garnered a coveted "Opportunity" short-story prize that she shared with Zora Neale Thurston. Bolsteres by critics’ praise, West left Boston for New York and shortly became the darling of the then-burgeoning Harlem Renaissance. (West also dabbled in theater, taking a small role in a traveling production of DuBose Heyward’s "Porgy.") Although well known in literary circles, West never won the widespread acclaim accorded to many of her peers and dryly referred to herself as "the best-known unknown writer of the time."

In 1932 West, along with a group of writers that included Wallace Thurman and Langston Hughes, traveled to Moscow to shoot the film "Black and White." Although the project was dropped, West remained in Russia another year with Hughes, returning to the U.S. only after learning of her father’s death. After a brief stay in Boston, West moved back to New York in an attempt to revive Harlem’s dwindling literary scene as the editor and only financial backer of the journal "The Challenge" (later called "The New Challenge" and edited by Richard Wright). Despite showcasing works by Hughes, Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Hurston, and other influential black writers of the period, the periodical failed by the end of the decade. West’s literary circle also had scattered, and the Harlem Renaissance, socked by Depression, was over. After brief stints in both the Communist Party and the Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA, West relocated permanently to Martha’s Vineyard in 1943.

"The Living is Easy," which West wrote during her early years on the island, was published in 1948 and well received by the critics. In the intervening years, West became a regular contributor to several newspapers while completing "The Wedding," a book about an elite black community on Martha’s Vineyard in the early twentieth century. First published in 1995 – nearly fifty years after "The Living is Easy" – "The Wedding" was hailed by critics. A collection of stories,"The Richer, the Poorer," also appeared in 1995.

źródło opisu: opis autorski; QPBC, 1996

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The Living is Easy
Seria: Griot Editions
One of the few novels published by a black woman during the 1940s, THE LIVING IS EASY is the story of Cleo Jericho Judson, a sharecropper’s daughter who "never had to be taught how to hold her h...
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