Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2004 - 9/30/2004

Funding Totals

$5,000.00 (approved)
$5,000.00 (awarded)

Literary Fellows: James Weldon Johnson and Brander Matthews

FAIN: FT-52871-04

Tess Eufamia Chakkalakal
Presidents and Trustees of Williams College (Williamstown, MA 01267-2600)

Brander Matthews, a leading critic of American literature in the 1890s, played a pivotal role in the making of the first modern African American novel: The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson. Yet Matthews’s connection to Johnson and the African American literary tradition has received little critical attention. A comparison of their literary projects reveals striking similarities. This project examines Johnson’s connection to Matthews’s ideas on literature and their importance to shaping the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.