Salon Talk with James Davis on Eric Walrond

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The New York Metro American Studies Association (NYMASA) announces our last Salon Talk of the 2014-2015 academic year

Wednesday, May 13

 James Davis (Brooklyn College, CUNY)

Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean(Columbia University Press, 2015).

Eric Walrond (1898-1966) was a writer, journalist, caustic critic, and fixture of 1920s Harlem. His short story collection, Tropic Death, was one of the first efforts by a black author to depict Caribbean lives and voices in American fiction. Restoring Walrond to his proper place as a luminary of the Harlem Renaissance, this biography situates Tropic Death within the author’s broader corpus and positions the work as a catalyst and driving force behind the New Negro literary movement in America.

James Davis follows Walrond from the West Indies to Panama, New York, France, and finally England. He recounts his relationships with New Negro authors such as Countée Cullen, Charles S. Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Alain Locke, and Gwendolyn Bennett, as well as the white novelist Carl Van Vechten. He also recovers Walrond’s involvement with Marcus Garvey’s journal Negro World and the National Urban League journal Opportunity and examines the writer’s work for mainstream venues, including Vanity Fair.

Unearthing documents in England, Panama, and the United States, and incorporating interviews, criticism of Walrond’s fiction and journalism, and a sophisticated account of transnational black cultural formations, Davis builds an eloquent and absorbing narrative of an overlooked figure and his creation of modern American and world literature.

Salon Talks are an opportunity for local American Studies scholars to share their published work with an intimate audience.  They tend to be small, lively, and informative; light refreshments are served.  This semester all Salon Talks will be held at 6:30pm in the Faculty and Staff Lounge, on the 8th floor of the West Building, Hunter College (Lexington Avenue and 68th Street).

For directions, more information, or to rsvp, contact Sarah Chinn at sarah.chinn@hunter.cuny.edu

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