New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. First Edition. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half title to his editor in the year of publication: "For Bernard Smith - Sincerely, Langston Hughes | July 3, 1930." Original pink and white striped cloth publisher's binding, with purple motif on spine and front cover; lacking dust jacket. A Near Fine copy with the spine a bit toned, otherwise in excellent condition. Hughes' debut novel, with an important association to the man who helped get it published.
Emphasizing the effects of class and religion on rural communities of color, Hughes' first novel picked up on themes that had shaped his infamous Harlem Renaissance poetry. As readers follow the coming-of-age of Sandy Rogers, they witness alongside him beautiful and tragic truths about black life in America. Ultimately, Sandy aspires toward growth and community contribution, aiming to follow in the footsteps of black leaders such as W.E.B. du Bois and Booker T. Washington. A powerful and pioneering work that proved that Hughes' immense talent could extend beyond poetry and into longer forms. "Every character in the novel, it can be said...is a living challenge to our civilization, a challenge that is all the more effective because it springs naturally out of its materials and is not superimposed upon them" (NYT, 1930). Near Fine (Item #2098)