Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Not Without Laughter
Langston Hughes


This is Langston Hughes’ first novel, published in 1930. It is set in Kansas just before the First World War, and looks at conflicts of class and religion in the African American community there. Hughes claimed the book to be semi-autobiographical, although “I wanted to write about a typical Negro family in the Middle West, about people like those I had known in Kansas. But mine was not a typical Negro family.” The New York Times review at the time noted its slow start, but declared that once it gains its momentum it moves as swiftly as a jazz rhythm. Its characters, emerging ever more clearly and challenging as the novel proceeds, gives it this rhythm.”

Paperback, 224pp
Dover Publications, 2008 (1930)
ISBN 9780486454481