Realism in the Novels of the Harlem Renaissance
The novelists of the Harlem Renaissance began writing at a point in America's literary history when the romantic tradition was being set aside for the gutsy truth-telling of realist literature. Modern criticism seems to take the flowery, nineteenth century prose found in the works of Chesnutt, Dunbar, Du Bois and others as an indication that they were writing in the romantic style. This is understandable but flawed. Almost all of the stories written during the Renaissance contained references to slavery or to Post Reconstructionist violence. For that reason few stories stemming from this period and written by African-Americans can be said to be "romantic."
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