Paul Laurence Dunbar Essay by Research Group

Paul Laurence Dunbar
An overview of the life of this nineteenth century African-American poet.
# 27477 | 1,302 words | 0 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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This paper traces the life of African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), the son of freed slaves. The paper examines the beginning of his career as a writer of poetry with his works "Our Martyred Soldiers" and "On the River" (1888). It looks at his professional relationship with Orville Wright and his job as the editor of "The Tattler." The paper looks at Dunbar's remarkable success as a writer in a segregated and racist America. It also includes a chronological list of major events in Dunbar's life and an annotated bibliography.

From the Paper:

"At a time when the black and white worlds were diverging once more, Dunbar bridged the two in a unique fashion. Black artists have often fared better in Europe than America, and Dunbar as well impressed many European critics and audiences. However, he also reached across the racial divide in his own land. His subject matter derived from the Negro folkways he had learned from his parents and others in the older generation, and he often performed his dialect poems in character to evoke the flavor of these stories in a direct manner. At the same time, he was often criticized for depicting his blacks characters as too easy going, though a close reading shows that he was well aware of the rebelliousness underlying his use and his character's use of black dialect."

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