Paul Laurence Dunbar, introduced to the American public by William Dean Howells, was the first native-born African American poet to achieve national and international fame. While there have been many valuable editions of his works over time, gaps have developed when manuscripts were lost or access to uncollected works became difficult.
In His Own Voice brings together previously upublished and uncollected short stories, essays, and poems. This volume also establishes Dunbar's reputation as a dramatist who mastered standard English conventions and used dialect in musical comedy for ironic effects.
In His Own Voice collects more than seventy-five works in six genres. Featured are the previously unpublished play Herrick and two one-act plays, largely ignored for a century, that demonstrate Dunbar's subversion of the minstrel tradition. This generous expansion of the canon also includes a short story never before published.
Herbert Woodward Martin, renowned for his live portrayal of Dunbar, and Ronald Primeau provide a literary and historical context for this previously untreated material, firmly securing the reputation of an important American voice.
Herbert Woodward Martin, poet in residence at the University of Dayton and Laureate Poet for Dayton, Ohio, is the author of six books of poetry, two opera libretti, and the text for a new Magnificat. He has given readings of Dunbar's poetry around the world for the past twenty years. Ronald Primeau is a professor of English at Central Michigan University. He is the author of books on Paul Laurence Dunbar, Herbert Woodward Martin, Edgar Lee Masters, and the literature of the American highway.