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Commonwealth of LettersBritish Literary Culture and the Emergence of Postcolonial Aesthetics$
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Peter J. Kalliney

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977970

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977970.001.0001

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Race and Modernist Anthologies

Race and Modernist Anthologies

Nancy Cunard, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Ezra Pound

(p.38) 2. Race and Modernist Anthologies
Commonwealth of Letters

Peter J. Kalliney

Oxford University Press

Chapter Two examines Nancy Cunard's massive Negro anthology (1934) and her dealings with three important collaborators: Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, and Claude McKay. Using archival sources, this chapter asks why the bigoted Pound would contribute to Cunard's project of racial reconciliation - and strike up an unlikely correspondence with Langston Hughes in the process - and also why Claude McKay, who was in political sympathy with Cunard, would angrily withdraw his contribution. It argues that modernist networks, with their complex systems of obligation and reciprocation - and not political affiliations or racial identities - should be used to explain the production history and meaning of Cunard's volume.

Keywords:   Nancy Cunard, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Negro anthology, Race, Colonialism

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