Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation. Feel free to comment even if you are not officially participating! This week’s prompt is:
Recommend a diverse classic. Or you can argue that a diverse book should be a classic or should be included in the canon. (Or you can argue that the book should be a classic, but that you don’t want to see it in the canon.)
James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man was published in 1912 and again in 1927, telling the story of a fictional biracial narrator who initially dreams of elevating the status of Black Americans by becoming a great ragtime musician, but ultimately decides to allow society to accept him as white. His journeys take him across America and to Europe, providing varied depictions of Black Americans and denying that there is only one way to be Black. His struggles with identity and acceptance remain relevant today.
Participating this week? Leave your link in the comments!