“Home to Harlem” Again: Claude McKay and the Masculine Imaginary of Black Community

Thabiti Lewis

in Escape from New York

Published by University of Minnesota Press

Published in print September 2013 | ISBN: 9780816677382
Published online August 2015 | e-ISBN: 9781452947877 | DOI:
“Home to Harlem” Again: Claude McKay and the Masculine Imaginary of Black Community

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This chapter offers a reading of Claude McKay’s 1928 novel Home to Harlem, focusing on the predominately masculine lens through which he explores the variety and scope of black urban diasporic life—its global and multiregional perspectives. It considers Home to Harlem as a literary depiction of the reality of an expansive African diaspora in the early twentieth century. In depicting black life and notions of community in 1920s black America, McKay examines the wonder, excitement, and limits of Harlem through recognition of alternative locations where black community thrived. His complicated and primarily masculinist presentation of modern industrial life utilizes proletarian characters that highlight the divergent diasporic routes of the New Negro reality and the Harlem Renaissance.

Keywords: novel; Claude McKay; Home to Harlem; African diaspora; black life; Harlem; black community; New Negro; Harlem Renaissance; masculinity

Chapter.  8631 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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