Penguin Classics and Others Work to Diversify Offerings From the CanonBreaking News
tags: books, literature, diversity, multiculturalism, canon
When the playwright and filmmaker Kathleen Collins’s short stories were published in 2016, nearly 30 years after her death in 1988, they were called a “revelation.” The stories, deeply moving and autobiographical, had been locked in a trunk untouched for decades, along with a trove of other work, until Collins’s daughter, Nina Lorez Collins, took on the task of bringing them to light.
At first, Ms. Collins said, she thought no one would publish these “literary short stories by an unknown dead black woman.” But in 2016, Ecco released them in a collection titled “Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?,” which was met with widespread acclaim. Elizabeth Alexander, in the book’s introduction, compared finding Collins’s stories to discovering Atlantis.
The revival of Collins’s work is part of a larger trend of recently released titles by authors who were previously marginalized or entirely lost to history. Some of these books are being published for the first time ever (like “Romance in Marseille,” by Claude McKay, and “Barracoon,” by Zora Neale Hurston), while others are being resurfaced for new generations, such as “The Street,” by Ann Petry.
The critical and commercial success of these titles is a result of a combination of factors: initiative on the part of writers’ families or estates; changing leadership within the publishing industry; and a willingness among modern readers to engage with unknown texts.
comments powered by Disqus
- Chris Hayes on How Police Treat Black Americans like Colonial Subjects
- 5 Ways to Rebuild Labor and Transform America
- Trump's Praise for China over Tiananmen Square Years ago was a Preview of his Support for Military Crackdowns on the George Floyd Protests
- For the First Time in 30 Years, Hong Kong Will Not Hold a Mass Vigil Commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre
- America's New Nihilism
- Why Teachers, Not Reformers, Should “Reimagine Education”
- COVID, Race, and a Pivotal Moment for America
- The Memo: Trump Lags in Polls as Crises Press
- Explaining the Insurrection Act of 1807 and Looking Back on Nixon’s Law & Order Campaign (Podcast)
- Trump Declared Himself the 'President of Law and Order.' Here's What People Get Wrong About the Origins of That Idea