Langston Hughes’s stories about Jesse B. Semple. These stories were first composed for a weekly column in the Chicago Defender and then collected in Simple Speaks His Mind, Simple Takes a Wife, and Simple Stakes a Claim. They have been read and loved by hundreds of thousands of readers. In The Best of Simple, the author picked his favourites from these earlier volumes, stories that not only have proved popular but are now part of a great and growing literary tradition.
Simple might be considered an Everyman for black Americans. Hughes himself wrote: “…these tales are about a great many people – although they are stories about no specific persons as such. But it is impossible to live in Harlem and not know at least a hundred Simples, fifty Joyces, twenty-five Zaritas, and several Cousin Minnies – or reasonable facsimiles thereof.”
Hill & Wang, 1990 (1945)