John's Reviews > W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919

W.E.B. Du Bois by David Levering Lewis
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Jul 11, 10


I didn’t appreciate this book at first. I found Lewis’s style a little too wordy. But Du Bois was a giant – of ideas and study, appetites, activity and accomplishment – and in these hands he’s found expression equal to his engulfing vitality. It’s small wonder both volumes won the Pulitzer. And here’s one reason why: From his exegesis on DuBois's classic "The Souls of Black Folk"-

“Had Du Bois left double consciousness in this epiphenomenal limbo – as a sort of non-ego or psychic negative pole –the partial legacy of Souls would have been perpetual, devastated psychic passivity. But Du Bois intended the divided self to be a phenomenon that was spiritually and socially evolving –one that would define itself through struggle and attain “self-conscious manhood” through “strife”. The German influences are unmistakable with their suggestion of materializing spirit and dialectical struggle, the whole surging process coming to concretion in das Volk – a mighty nation with a unique soul. It is as though the voices of Schopenhauer and Sojourner Truth were blended”. Further. “Du Bois’s concept of racial twoness at the beginning of the twentieth century was profoundly radical. With millions of Europeans arriving from religious and cultural backgrounds strikingly dissimilar to earlier immigrant infusions……..Du Bois was a decade ahead of the generation of mainstream younger artists and writers who would express their disenchantment with the Anglo-Saxon cultural paradigm by celebrating immigrants and workers, mounting scandal raising art shows, launching iconoclastic little magazines, and clamoring for social revolution.”

Dope. And let the church say Amen.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Babydoll (new)

Babydoll Wonderful review John! This is a book that I am looking forward to reading.


John Thanks Kiya! It's an incredible book but I'm taking a breather before I start part 2. However, a new condensed version is out but I haven't looked at it. I just hope it's good enough to get people to buy. I did it as a staff pick for the store - along with about 18 others - and our staff picks person felt that they were all good enough to run all at the same time, as a group. So, for the first time in store history, all the selections on the staff pick wall will be by one person. When they go up, I'll be promoting them like crazy.



Thomas Rush You have a very thoughtful and insightful review, John.


John Thank you!


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