The Sport of the Gods

Front Cover
Signet, 1902 - Fiction - 148 pages
40 Reviews
In this extraordinary novel, Paul Laurence Dunbar tells the story of a displaced Southern family's struggle to survive and prosper in early Harlem. "The Sport of the Gods" was one of the first novels to depict the harsh realities of ghetto life and the revolutionary truths it uncovered still resonate today.

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Review: The Sport of the Gods

User Review  - Natalie Richards - Goodreads

This was a good read but so bleak and it made me very sad to read it. Read full review

Review: The Sport of the Gods

User Review  - Goodreads

This was a good read but so bleak and it made me very sad to read it. Read full review

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About the author (1902)

Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in June 27, 1872 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the son of ex-slaves and attended school at Dayton Central High School, the only African-American in his class. Dunbar was a member of the debating society, editor of the school paper and president of the school's literary society. He also wrote for Dayton community newspapers. He worked as an elevator operator in Dayton's Callahan Building until he established himself locally and nationally as a writer. He published an African-American newsletter in Dayton, the Dayton Tattler, with help from the Wright brothers. Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national eminence as a poet. Oak and Ivy, his first collection, was published in 1892. As his book gained fame, Dunbar was invited to recite at the World's Fair, in 1893 where he met Frederick Douglass. Dunbar's second book, Majors and Minors, propelled him to national fame. A New York publishing firm, Dodd Mead and Co., combined Dunbar's first two books and published them as Lyrics of a Lowly Life. Dunbar then took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He found the work tiresome, however, and the library's dust contributed to his worsening case of tuberculosis. He worked there for only a year before quitting to write and recite full time. Depression and declining health drove him to drink, which further damaged his health. He continued to write, however. He ultimately produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels. His work appeared in Harper's Weekly, the Sunday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other magazines and journals. He died there on Feb. 9, 1906 at the age of 33.

William L. Andrews was born in 1946. He earned his B.A. from Davidson College in 1968. He received his M.A. in 1970 and Ph.D. in 1973, respectively, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he is currently the E. Maynard Adams Professor of English. His first book, The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt, published in 1980, deals with a seminal figure in the development of African American and Southern American prose fiction. While researching To Tell a Free Story, a history of African American autobiography up to 1865, Andrews became greatly interested in autobiography studies. Since 1988 he has been the general editor of a book series, titled Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography, which is published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Since the mid-1980's he has done a considerable amount of editing of African American and southern literature and criticism. The fruition of this work has been The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, published in 1997, The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, also published in 1997, and The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology, three big collaborative projects that Andrews has co-edited. He went on to be the series editor of North American Slave Narratives, Beginnings to 1920, a complete digitized library of autobiographies and biographies of North American slaves and ex-slaves, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ameritech, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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