Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Variations of jazz: The legacy and influence of Langston Hughes on Amiri Baraka's views of African American music and the function of the arts
by Yan, Han, M.A., Emporia State University, 2011, 84; 1495809
Abstract (Summary)

Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka share three similarities in the history of African American literature. Both of them are men of letters, men of music, and men of dreams. Therefore, Hughes and Baraka reveal their affection towards African American music and their dream of happiness for all the African Americans in their literary works. Hughes regarded the blues as well as jazz as one of the most influential African American arts. Hughes believed this uplifting sorrowful music represented the African American people's life. Hughes interpreted his feelings and has understanding of jazz in his lines of poetry, and became known as one of the best jazz poets. Furthermore, Hughes made great efforts to promote African American arts and encouraged the younger generation of African American artists. Hughes's views on jazz music and the function of the arts significantly influenced Baraka. Baraka inherited and developed Hughes's perspectives through his literary life. Baraka theoretically analyzed the significance and fundamental role of the blues in African Americans' life. Unlike Hughes who described his dream and affirmed his faith towards a better life in literary works, Baraka actively participated in the Black Arts Movement to carry out his dream. Hughes endeavored to build a new identity combining Black and White identities, while Baraka always tried instead to confirm and assert his Black identity alone during his life of controversy. Therefore, the legacy of Hughes influenced Baraka, and Baraka developed Hughes's viewpoints through his exploration of literature and life. This thesis will present an exploratory study on the above topic based on the analysis of the history of African American literature and these two writers' literary works.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Raber, Kevin
School: Emporia State University
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Modern literature, Black studies, Music, American literature, British and Irish literature
Publication Number: 1495809
ISBN: 9781124670041
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