The Short Stories of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes; Edited by Akiba Sullivan Harper; With an Introduction by Arnold Rampersad

Hill and Wang



Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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Including works ranging in date of composition from 1919 to 1963, this collection of forty-seven stories—the most comprehensive such gathering available—showcases Hughes's literary blossoming as well as the development of his personal and artistic concerns. Many of the stories here have long been out of print, and others never before collected. These poignant, witty, angry, and deeply poetic stories demonstrate Hughes's uncanny gift for elucidating the most vexing questions of American race relations—and of human nature more generally.


Praise for The Short Stories of Langston Hughes

"Perhaps more than any other writer in American history, Hughes was able to capture 'the Harlemness of the American predicament' (to quote Ralph Ellison's wonderful phrase) in words that had the ring of truth, and not just in literary circles but in the barbershops and beauty parlors of everyday Harlem itself."—Robert G. O'Meally, Newsday

"[Hughes's] fiction . . . manifests his 'wonder at the world.' As these stories reveal, that wonder has lost little of its shine."—Brooke Horvath, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A good example of how Hughes attempted the balancing act of writing an engaged literary and genuinely popular literature that spoke for and of the everyday lives of African Americans."—James Smethurst, Chicago Tribune

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Langston Hughes; Edited by Akiba Sullivan Harper; With an Introduction by Arnold Rampersad

  • Langston Hughes (1902-67) was born in Joplin, Missouri, was educated at Lincoln University, and lived for most of his life in New York City. He is best known as a poet, but he also wrote novels, biography, history, plays, and children's books. Among his works are two volumes of memoirs, The Big Sea and I Wonder as I Wander, and two collections of Simple stories, The Best of Simple and The Return of Simple.

    Akiba Sullivan Harper is a professor of English at Spelman College and the editor of The Return of Simple.

    Arnold Rampersad, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature at Princeton University, is the author of The Life of Langston Hughes and editor of The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.