In I Wonder as I Wander, Langston Hughes vividly recalls the most dramatic and intimate moments of his life in the turbulent s. In I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey, Langston Hughes recounts his travels during the ‘s through the United States, Mexico, and Cuba. Essays and criticism on Langston Hughes’ I Wonder as I Wander – Critical Essays .

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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. I Wonder as I Wander: In I Wonder as I WanderLangston Hughes vividly recalls the most dramatic and intimate moments of his life in the turbulent s. He meets and brings to life the famous and the humble, from Arthur Koestler to Emma, the Black In I Wonder as I WanderLangston Hughes vividly recalls the most dramatic and intimate moments of his life in the turbulent s.

It is the continuously amusing, wise revelation of an American writer journeying around the often strange and always exciting world he loves. Paperbackpages. Published August 1st by Hill and Wang first published January 1st The Collected Works of Langston Hughes To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about I Wonder as I Wanderplease sign up. Do you need to read Hughes’ previous autobiography, The Big Sea, to appreciate this second volume? K No, but they are both so fantastic, I envy you getting to read them both for the first time!

See 1 question about I Wonder as I Wander…. Lists with This Book. May 01, Cheryl rated it really liked it Shelves: What is it about art that calms the soul and rejuvenates the mind? In times of unrest, art uncovers the truth and displays it with unwavering subtlety. In Hughes’ memoir, I read as he observed how art in the form of theatre, dance, writing, folklore, music, and graphics helped snap portraits of the world during a time of social change.

Hughes could not sit at the same table with Hemingway in America, due to the color lines drawn, but both he and Hemingway could dine together with writers in Barc What is it about art that calms the soul and rejuvenates the mind?

Hughes could not sit at the same table with Hemingway in America, due to the color lines drawn, but both he and Hemingway could dine together with writers in Barcelona, during the war. He was seated as a guest of honor in Japan’s most celebrated theaters, yet he was deported from Japan due to fears that he’d travelled to Russia and China, so he could have been a communist.

While on tour in the American Jim Crow South, he could not eat anywhere he wanted, rest anywhere he could afford, or use the restroom at his leisure because he was a black man, yet his play ran on Broadway and was “listed among the twelve longest runs for ” even if it took him a while to realize that someone else was putting his name to his work, even if his agent didn’t tell him about the play until after it was produced, even if he had to get the Dramatist Guild to represent him so he get paid royalties for his own work.

Before this, the house was ivy-covered, almost in the process of being torn down by the city, while in the same neighborhood, Harlem’s beauty was finally being seen, being revitalized, but its history distorted. The exposed brick beauty of those Harlem apartments interior that you read about in works from the Harlem Renaissance writers, are now modernized high-end properties, their unique historical frameworks still poetic portraits.

This ends my February journey with Langston Hughes: If anyone is interested in his memoirs, I would suggest starting with The Big Seamy favorite of the two, since that first Volume of his memoirs is more poetically inclined than this one, and is more about s America, the Harlem Renaissance, and the start of this travels through Europe. I chose this because I wanted to traverse black history month by following the wanderings of one of the most important voices in black literature.


I wanted to feel history traverse my veins and seep through my body so that I was not only reminded of progression, but also reminded of the sacrifice and toil. After all, can one truly learn black history without listening to the experience of the ones directly affected? I read this to learn from the man whose works is often relegated to America and the race lines, but one who is in fact world-rounded; one who, like Hemingway of his time, traveled the world, from Africa to Asia Soviet Asiathe Caribbean to Europe, from where he wrote numerous articles, stories, plays, poems, and reportage.

View all 21 comments. Nov 04, Rowena rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was an incredibly enjoyable autobiography of one of my favourite poets, Langston Hughes. His influence on Black world literature is immense. His insights were really fascinating and thought-provoking. His experiences as a black man were even more so as race did play a part in his travels.

He showed that the world was a lot more diverse than many thought, even back then. I learned some fascinating information about the world and also about Hughes, the most interesting was perhaps that he was quite good friends with Alfred Koestler, whom he travelled with. Nowadays our biggest problems seem to be whether we can get a wi-fi connection but in those days even finding a good quality pencil to write with was a challenge for Hughes! His experiences in the former Soviet Union were the most illuminating for me.

He met the most interesting people there and also considered the parallels between the blacks in the racist American South and the Uzbeks who were downtrodden members of the Soviet Union. He realized art can be therapeutic in those cases: He never failed to see the humour or irony in situations: View all 6 comments. Aug 06, Zanna rated it really liked it.

I Wonder as I Wander by Langston Hughes, Arnold Rampersad | : Books

Hughees things, the hotel manager explained, simply were not done in Haiti by persons of our standing. He, the manager, “While langstln was engaged in correcting my manners, since I took his admonition amiably, he went on to say that furthermore he had noticed [us] sitting in the grassy open space in front of the hotel on the ground talking with market women and fishermen, and even playing with their children — or worse, engaged in dominoes with the barefooted wharf workers who hung out on the sea wall!

He, the manager, who was also a lawyer, would be glad to introduce us to his friends with whom, he was sure, we would have much more in common. But at the same time, I argued with him that I did not see why, since I was interested in the folk life of the Haitian people, I should not associate with whom I please — especially since the better-class Haitians neither knew how to play drums nor dance the conga.

The parties at the homes of his friends, I was sure, were very much like the parties of educated people everywhere. I tried to tell [him] that one can drink champagne and talk about Proust or Gide in New York.

But one cannot see a conga dance there or attend a wake with tables set in the yard for games of cards.

But he got up and went away shaking his head. In pre-revolutionary Spain, good maidens did not go out with young men until they were engaged, and only then accompanied by a chaperone. Such girls remained virgin until married.

If it were rumoured otherwise, and chastity were doubted, a girl might never get a good husband. But when the Franco troops besieged Madrid in overwhelming numbers early in the days of the Civil War, and when it seemed that the city could hold out no longer, word spread that if Madrid wanrer to Franco the Moorish legions would rape all the women in the city.

This pleasure, without hindrance, Franco had promised them.

Rather than be raped, many of the good girls of Madrid decided to give themselves to their sweethearts — the gallant young j who expected to die anyway, within a few days, in defence of the city. So, under the thunder of Franco guns and the bombs of qonder planes, one thunderous night shaken by gunfire, a sort of mass submission of the decent maidens of Madrid to their beloveds took place.


Then, even in the eyes of their own lovers, thousands of the nice girls of Madrid, since they were no longer virgins, were held in contempt. Feb 25, Caroline rated it it was amazing Shelves: Near the end of this account of his world travels from through lxngston, Langston Hughes writes: I remembered once during my childhood in Kansas my grandmother had given me an apple that had been bruised and so had a brown spot on it.

Bit that speck out and eat that apple, son. And that attitude pervades these pages.

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Lanston Hughes travels jubilantly, and describes but distances himself from the specks. At the beginning, back from Europe see the earlier The Big Sea he finds himself rejected by his long time elderly white sponsor, and heading west to San Francisco where he benefits from the friendship of another sponsor. He goes to Mexico to settle the estate of his dead father, to Cuba and Haiti for the experience, through the south on a reading tour of universities, to Moscow on a doomed motion picture project, to central Asia as a journalist, across China on his way home, to Japan where he is ejected under political suspicion, and lastly to Spain to cover the Civil War.

Sometimes he basks in the hospitality of wealthy friends, mostly he is barely able to pay for a hotel room and food. But friendship and luck are on his side. He meets everyone there is to meet during the thirties, either introduced or fortuitously ending up destitute in the same spot and encountering another artist. He rented a room with a then-unknown Cartier-Bresson in Mexico City, and ran into a getting-started Arthur Koestler in the farthest outback of Central Asia.

They spent weeks investigating the effect of Soviet rule on the feudal society together. He had just been to Cuba and Haiti, where he saw the effects of American capitalism and imperialism. The poverty was intense. He had just traveled through the Jim Crow south, where an acquaintance died just before he reached a town because she had been wandfr care at a white hospital after an auto accident.

The Scottsboro boys case was going on. He connived his way onto a plantation and saw the plight of sharecroppers. And then, he goes to Moscow where artists are respected and well paid. He goes to Central Asia where women are being liberated, children schooled, doctors stationed.

There is no color line.

I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey by Langston Hughes

Because Hughes is everywhere sensitive to race, ad searching out blacks and African-Americans to ask how they are treated. But sometimes, his focus on uughes out the specks is bad policy. He mentions the show trials and purges in passing a couple of times, but with no comment. But he was writing the book just as the McCarthy hearings were climaxing or ending, so one has to read this as the book of someone who had testified but not defied McCarthy; Hughes was criticized for being almost cooperative.

Hughes is a delightful writer, conveying personality and local color wonderfully. He was in a myriad of dangerous and physically uncomfortable situations during his travels, but what comes across is his enjoyment of it all. Feb 22, Debbie Zapata rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the second autobiography written by Langston Hughes. Here he talks about his life in the ‘s. He spent time in Cuba and Haiti, then did poetry readings in the American South, and stayed for a time in California before heading to Russia to take part in a Soviet movie that was to be made there.

He eventually rode the Trans-Siberian train across the country to then spend time in Shanghai and Japan, and he was asked to leave that country because the authorities thought he was a spy.