Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of Literature at Cornell University.
[With] The Schomburg Library, I feel as if I were watching a gigantic ebony figure being unearthed. It is a woman writing. * The Washington Post Book World * A literary treasure-chest....A collection we will have to turn to again and again. * The Women's Review of Books * In an editorial feat of epic proportions, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has rescued the vast writings of nineteenth-century black women from oblivion....He has reinstated black literary ancestresses to their positions of prominence....Groundbreaking. * Marcellus Blount, The Village Voice Literary Supplement * The collaboration among The Schomburg Center, Oxford University Press, and these exceptional scholars is an extraordinary event...but the collection is a spectacular achievement. * Toni Morrison * What an astonishing gift...the collection is! * Alice Walker * Praise for the series: Splendid novel, broad and useful portrait of society during reconstruction from the black point of view. * Leonard Cassuto, Fordham University, Lincoln Center * Clearly Harper's words prove her awareness of the cultural and political functions of narrative. With its intricate plot, about a mulatto who first assumes she is white, subsequently learns she is the daughter of a slave ('the child follows the condition of its mother') and is therefore black, and who ultimately makes the conscious choice not to pass for white but to live as a black woman, Iola Leroy is a novel filled with the complexities and contradictions of black-and-female existence in America in the nineteenth century. While the success of the novel is indisputable in terms of copies sold, what is harder to measure is the extent to which it altered cultural and racial attitudes. * The Women's Review of Books * For all its heavy-handed moralizing, [Iola Leroy] purposefully fought the prevailing negative views about blacks. * Essence * Probably the best-selling novel by an African-American before the twentieth century. * The New York Times * Well worth including. I found it to be a wonderful addition * virtually all students responded well to it...sparked interesting, charged debates. * A most useful novel by which to teach the conflicts surrounding race and gender in the nineteenth century. * Leonard Cassuto, Fordham University *