Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois Review

The Souls of Black FolkThe Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The classics challenge offered the perfect opportunity for me to read Du Bois’ classic The Souls of Black Folks. It is an assortment of essay, some of which were published in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine, before being assembled and published as a book in 1903.

Each chapter in The Souls of Black Folks begins with a poetic epigraph including a musical score. The poetry was not written by Du Bois. Some are traditional spirituals. Others are poems written by African-Americans as well as white American and European poets. All of the poems share similar themes of suffering and liberation. I thought that the epigraphs were effective in setting the stage for the reader to have a personal experience.

Each essay deals with a different aspect of the issue of race in America. Some of the essays are very personal. Others are historical, while still others are political and philosophical. All are extremely thought provoking.

Du Bois’s writing is special, but it requires concentration. His style is poetic and erudite. It would have been wonderful to read this in college, when I was in the midst of academia. I was prepared for most of his historical references, but I was behind the curve when he referenced Greek mythology. I was glad that I read this on my kindle. Every time Du Bois referenced something that I wasn't familiar with, I could tap the term and do a wiki search. I couldn’t read this straight through like a novel. I read one or no more than two essays at a time.

Du Bois is, clearly, writing to a 1903 audience, but I was amazed at how many of the essays had contemporary application and meaning. This is an excellent book. I'm still thinking about several of the essays.

View all my reviews

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I discovered Du Bois in college.  I became interested in this particular book about a 6 months ago.

WHAT Makes It A Classic
Du Bois was one of the most influential people of the 20th century. 

WHY I Chose to Read It
I wanted to read something by Du Bois.

WILL It Stay A Classic
Without a doubt, it will stay a classic.  The essays still have applicability, today.

WHO I’d Recommend It To
African Americans and anyone interested in the topic of race in America

No comments:

Post a Comment