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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1925 - Fiction - 166 pages
6 Reviews
The fictional characters of Porgy, Bess, Black Maria, Sportin' Life, and the other Gullah denizens of Catfish Row have attained a mythic status and have become inextricably identified with Charleston. This novel is the story of Porgy, a crippled street-beggar in the black tenement. Unwashed and un-wanted, he lives just on the edge of subsistence and trusts his fate to the gods and chance. His one shining moment is his pursuit of Bess, whom he wins and then loses during one summer of passion and violence. This story by DuBose Heyward is, of course, the origin of George Gershwin's acclaimed folk opera Porgy and Bess. Heyward created Porgy with such sympathy, honesty, and insight that Porgy has ascended into the pantheon of the universal. This Banner Books edition includes an afterword by James M. Hutchisson, Heyward's biographer, who places Porgyin its social and historical context and shows how the novel revolutionized American literature. Heyward had no literary training, and he wrote Porgywhile working as an insurance agent. It is ironic that this deeply feeling author was a member of the Charleston aristocracy which regarded African Americans as little more than servants. Indeed, the tightly knit black community is celebrated in the novel and is contrasted with Charleston's white culture, which in Heyward's view lacked the vitality and rich social ethos of the Gullahs. In 1927, even before Gershwin transformed the novel with a musical score, the book was successfully dramatized for the New York stage. The production revolutionized the black theater movement with its casting of black actors. Porgy, published in 1925, proved to be on the leading edge of the great southern renaissance, in which works by William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and others would depict black characters of increasing emotional and psychological complexity. The novel has gone through seven editions and has been translated into French, Gullah, and German, among other languages and dialects. DuBose Heyward (1885-1940) published Porgyto tremendous critical acclaim and financial success. He wrote poetry, short fiction, plays, and screenplays. James M. Hutchisson is a professor of English at The Citadel in Charleston.

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Review: Porgy

User Review  - Cat Grimalkin Niedzwiecki - Goodreads

There is nothing I could say that could polish this gem of a story. Latern jawed is the word I would use to describe this book. 221 pages; the print is a width of 3 inches; 10 1/2 in. in length. A ... Read full review

Review: Porgy

User Review  - John - Goodreads

this is the book that the play was based on and it is wonderful. Have seen the play many times over the years and it took me months to find this copy of the book. well worth the wait. Read full review

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Page 9 - Porgy, Maria, and Bess, Robbins, and Peter, and Crown: Life was a three-stringed harp Brought from the woods to town. Marvelous tunes you rang From passion, and death, and birth, You who had laughed and wept On the warm, brown lap of the earth. Now in your untried hands An instrument, terrible, new, is thrust by a master who frowns, Demanding strange songs of you. God of the White and Black, Grant us great hearts on the way That we may understand Until you have learned to play.

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About the author (1925)

Heyward was a central figure in both the Charleston and the Southern Renaissance. His influence extended to the Harlem Renaissance as well. However, Heyward is often remembered simply as the author of Porgy.

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