EW Staff
September 13, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Between 1919 and 1963, poet Langston Hughes — who called himself a ”literary sharecropper” — often turned to short fiction to pay the rent. Forty-seven of his stories are assembled in Short Stories of Langston Hughes for the first time, and the range is fascinating — from Hughes’ fledgling attempts as a teenager (”Seventy-five Dollars”) to the works of a seasoned writer (”Slave on the Block”). All are infused with his personal and political opinions — on race relations, white patronage of black art, isolation, sexual depravity. Hughes’ boyhood dream, ”to write stories about Negroes, so true that people in faraway lands would read them — even after I was dead,” is fulfilled again with this anthology. A

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