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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.54, No.2, 235 ~ 262, 2008
Re-evaluation of Countee Cullen`s Life and Works: Based on the “Miracle Book”
강신욱 Shin Wook Kang
Countee Cullen has never been fully understood as a poet or as a man, for there existed certain ambiguities concerning his earlier life including family background. But a short but enormously important biography written by Shirley Washington, his niece, a daughter of his youngest sister, titled Countee Cullen`s Secret Revealed by Miracle Book: A Biography of His Childhood in New Orleans, has at last come to shed some lights on his childhood which has never been disclosed by Cullen himself or anyone else. Now we can safely say that Countee Cullen was a combination of two personalities, James S. Carter, Jr. and Countee Cullen, In other words, he was a good example of a ``dichotomous personality.`` Such disclosure of two conflicting personalities gives us a rare chance to re-examine his literary works. We can now put in perspective why in his first collection of poems Color Countee Cullen was so ironic, dark, cynic, and pessimistic about the life and the world. Also, we can understand why Cullen`s response to the jazz was so complex and contradictory and in what ways he used artistic technique to conceal his own feelings. Thanks to Washington`s biography, we are now able to locate the real cause of his failure to mature as a poet and of his failure to materialize what was promised in the beginning of his literary career.
Key Words
카운테이 컬른, 제임스 카터, 흑인 시, 할렘 르네상스, “이중 의식”, “기적의 책”, Countee Cullen, James Carter, African-American poetry, Harlem Renaissance, “double consciousness”, “Miracle Book”,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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