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Author Information: Paul Laurence Dunbar

 
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Paul Laurence Dunbar (USA,1872-1906) was, in his day, the best-known African American writer in the world. In addition to his many volumes of poetry, beginning with Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896) he published essays, short stories and three novels, the last and most acclaimed being The Sport of the Gods (1902) and wrote the lyrics for the 1903 Broadway musical In Dahomey, which played London and had a command performance at Buckingham Palace. William Dean Howells wrote: "Dunbar was the only man of pure African blood and of American civilization to feel the Negro life esthetically and express it lyrically." But late-20th-century critics were embarrassed by Dunbar's use of southern black dialect, so that for some decades his work was neglected. Critics are now taking a new look, stressing the literary and poetic achievements of his work in its own context.

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