Colonial Literature

Civil War & Realism


European Romanticim


Harlem Renaissance

American Romanticism

19th century Naturalism

Beat Generation/Whitman

New England Renaissance

American Realism & Regionalism



Anxiety of Influence


Harlem Renaissance

Authors and works that we will cover this spring:

Historical Contexts in American Literature



Paul Dunbar

We Wear the Mask


We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes&emdash;

This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties.


Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.


We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries

To thee from tortured souls arise.

We sing, but oh the clay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;

But let the world dream otherwise,

We wear the mask!

                    Paul Laurence Dunbar


See Dunbar home page and home!


Art Links:


Sargent Johnson, 1887 - 1967. Sargent Johnson studied at The School of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco. He learned lithography while working in the Bay area WPA/FAP program. Best known as a sculptor and ceramist, he was employed as a senior sculptor and later as a unit supervisor, the only African-American to achieve this position.Lennox Avenue, c. 1935; lithograph; 12 1/2 x 8 5/8 inches; 313:1943. Gift of Federal Works Agency, Work Projects Administration


Other links:

Send me links for the following topics:

Afro-American Literature/Studies

Zora Neale Hurston

Toni Morrison

Alice Walker

Henry Louis Gates

Cornel West