Un Continente “de color”: Langston Hughes y América Latina

Astrid Haas,

Universität Bielefeld

Abstract

The essay analyzes the political-poetic vision of Latin America formulated in the literary, autobiographical, and essayist works of the black U.S.-American writer Langston Hughes. Hughes was not only one of the most outstanding and prolific artists of the Harlem Renaissance but also the one most interested Latin America and most closely engaging with Latin American artists, intellectuals, and “ordinary” people. He lived in Mexico for some time, paid several visits to Cuba, and wrote about these experiences in his two volumes of autobiography as well as in various poems and essays. Focusing in particular on his encounters with the black and indigenous populations of the two countries, these texts articulate a vision of an Afro-diasporic and leftist political consciousness. Latin America emerges here as a “continent of color,” a hemisphere especially shaped by the experiences of peoples of non-European descent. Hughes’s engagement with the black and indigenous cultures of Latin America further forms part of the writer’s larger vision of a global “world of color” that he sets against the hegemony of European and Euro-American thought.

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