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Throughout high school and college, I found myself studying white authors in my literature classes much more often then I studied African American authors which means that most people know almost nothing about African American authors. It seems to me that the reason for that might be that up until the mid-twentieth century very few African American authors were included in the literary canon. More African-American authors and other minority authors have been more included in the general literary canon over the last few decades, but the literary canon is still mostly white.
Langston Hughes is one of the most canonized African-American authors and has edited several literature anthologies and written several papers on the literary canon, so he is the author that I focus on in this project. Throughout this project, I do my best to answer the question why is Langston Hughes one of the African-American authors most often included in American and British anthologies. I do that by investigating why Hughes and other critics think writers should be included in the literary canon to get a general view of the possible reasons why authors ar included in the canon and then look at his poems that are most often included in anthologies to be able to make a statement about why Hughes in particular is included in the literary canon. Hughes is included in the literary canon, because he writes poems in a similar way to and addresses similar themes to other Harlem Renaissance writers. I hope that if I discuss how the writing that Hughes did was similar and different to the writing done by other Harlem Renaissance writers then readers will walk away from my project with a new appreciation for the importance of studying a variety of authors in both schools and research papers. I am certain that if critics and the general public study a variety of authors, they will gain a deeper understanding of different literary movements and the social issues that different classes and races face on a daily basis then they would have if they only studied a few caucasian male authors.
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Berlin, Olivia Hart, "A Pinch More Diversity: Langston Hughes and The Literary Canon" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 323.
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