Dunbar, Paul Laurence


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Dunbar, Paul Laurence

(dŭn`bär), 1872–1906, American poet and novelist, b. Dayton, Ohio. The son of former slaves, he won recognition with his Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896)—a collection of poems from his Oak and Ivy (1893) and Majors and Minors (1895). His humorous poems employing African-American folk materials and dialect were especially popular with the public, but Dunbar viewed them as a means of getting his other works published and came to despise them. Dunbar's other works include four novels, the best known of which is The Sport of the Gods (1902); four collections of short stories, notably Folks from Dixie (1898), in which he portrayed the lives of Southern blacks; and numerous song lyrics.

Bibliography

See his Complete Poems (1913); biographies by B. Brawley (1936, repr. 1967) and A. Gayle (1971); study by J. Martin, ed. (1974); E. Alexander, ed., Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore (2002).

Dunbar, Paul Laurence

 

Born June 27, 1872, in Dayton, Ohio; died there Feb. 9, 1906. American Negro author. Born into the family of a former slave; worked as an elevator operator.

After the publication of his first book of poems, Oak and Ivy (1893), Dunbar became a librarian in Washington. He was the author of several collections of stories, the novel The Sport of the Gods (1902), and other works. He was the first Negro writer in the USA to gain wide renown. His most popular works were his poems written in southern dialect: the collections Majors and Minors (1895) and Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896). In poetry full of sincere love for his people Dunbar idealized the life of the plantation Negro. Nevertheless, some of his stories and poems protest against discrimination and terror.

WORKS

The Best Stories. New York, 1938.
The Complete Poems. New York, 1940.

REFERENCES

Bekker, M. I. Progressivnaia negritianskaia literatura SShA. Leningrad, 1957.
Brawley, B. P. L. Dunbar, Poet of His People.[New York, 1968.

I. M. LEVIDOVA

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Dunbar, Paul Laurence JUMP BACK, HONEY: The Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar.