First edition of Banjo: A Story without a Plot by Claude McKay, from the library of W.E.B. Du Bois. Octavo, viii, 326pp, . Decorative hardcover in black and orange, black cloth spine, title in gilt on spine. Top edge dyed orange. Stated “first edition” on copyright page with “C-D” code below. Unmarked pages. In publishers dust jacket, chipping along edges, some loss at bottom edge of spine, conservative archival repairs to back side of jacket to reinforce hinge. Ownership stamp of W.E.B. Du Bois on title front free endpaper.
Comments: Banjo is the second novel from Claude McKay, a poet, writer and seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance. W.E.B. Du Bois was critical of McKay’s first novel, Home to Harlem (1928), for its portrayal of Harlem as a drug and prostitution filled neighborhood, writing that “…for the most part [Home to Harlem] nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Du Bois encouraged McKay to continue writing, stating that Banjo was “…a sort of international philosophy of the Negro race.”