“Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, published in 2019, doesn’t couch itself as a book about the Harlem Renaissance. The words ‘Harlem’ and ‘Renaissance’ appear as a pair exactly once in its 441 pages, and it’s been far better recognized for the power of Hartman’s fictional-historical ‘critical fabulation’ than as a rival to When Harlem Was in Vogue. But this intimate feminist record of ‘social upheaval’ still strikes me as the most significant recent work of Harlem Renaissance scholarship. Hartman’s cast of freebooting Black women, rescued from the condescension of posterity through a blend of archival sleuthing and imaginative storytelling, are New Negroes before the fact…Wayward Lives approaches Harlem Renaissance history from the boulevard up, and addresses the question of what the 90 per cent of Black New Yorkers mostly unnoticed by Lewis and company were doing as Harlem prepared for faddishness.” Read more...
The best books on The Harlem Renaissance
William J. Maxwell,