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The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939

Robeson, Paul Jr.

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ISBN 10: 0471242659 / ISBN 13: 9780471242659
Published by John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2001
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's ...

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Inscribed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


The long-awaited, untold, inside story of the rise of the legendary actor, singer, scholar, and activist. The first volume of this major biography breaks new ground.

The greatest scholar-athlete-performing artist in U.S. history, Paul Robeson was one of the most compelling figures of the twentieth century.

Now his son, Paul Robeson Jr., traces the dramatic arc of his rise to fame, painting a definitive picture of Paul Robeson's formative years. His father was an escaped slave; his mother, a descendent of freedmen; and his wife, the brilliant and ambitious Eslanda Cardozo Goode. With a law degree from Columbia University; a professional football career; title roles in Eugene O'Neill's plays and in Shakespeare's Othello; and a concert career in America and Europe, Robeson dominated his era.

This unprecedented biography reveals the depth of Robeson's cultural scholarship, explores the contradictions he bridged in his personal and political life, and describes his emergence as a symbol of the anticolonial and antifascist struggles. Filled with previously unpublished photographs and source materials from the private diaries and letters of Paul and Eslanda Robeson, this is the epic story of a forerunner who now stands as one of America's greatest heroes.

From the Inside Flap:

"Robeson . . . lives, overwhelmingly, in the hearts and minds of the people whom he touched, the people for whom he was an example, the people who gained from him the power to perceive and the courage to resist. It is not a sentimental question. He lived in our times, we live in his. . . . It is a matter of bearing witness to that force which moved among us." –James Baldwin

Paul Robeson was inarguably one of the most important figures of the twentieth century. As this unprecedented biography makes clear, the essential facts of his public life are near legendary. Actor, singer, scholar, and activist—— Robeson dominated his era. His father was an escaped slave; his mother, a descendent of distinguished freedmen. With a law degree from Columbia University, a professional football career, title roles in Eugene O’Neill’s plays and in Shakespeare’s Othello, and a concert and film career in America and Europe, Robeson redefined the black male image.

But an intensely private side to Robeson is now revealed in these pages. At last, we can know the whole man. Here is the intimate story of how the preacher’s son emerged as a force of breathtaking courage, principle, and compassion. Haunted by childhood trauma and pitted against brutal racists, he battled against his enemies and his demons with a warrior’s heart. Although his youth spanned the Harlem Renaissance and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, he resisted politics for years. Flowering as an artist in Europe, he emerged as a fierce symbol of anticolonial and antifascist struggles around the world. This was the Paul Robeson who returned to New York as a pioneering superstar, ready to challenge America to keep its promise to his people.

The Undiscovered Paul Robeson sets out to explore the connection between the artist’s soul and the passions that ruled it. Layering decades of personal conversations, extensive research, and rich insights with previously unpublished excerpts from the private diaries and letters of Paul and Eslanda Robeson, Paul Robeson, Jr., gives us a deeply felt and brilliantly conceived portrait of his father’s defining struggles, triumphs, and humanity.

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