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By Langston Hughes

In I ask yourself as I Wander, Langston Hughes vividly remembers the main dramatic and intimate moments of his lifestyles within the turbulent 1930s.

His wanderlust leads him to Cuba, Haiti, Russia, Soviet primary Asia, Japan, Spain (during its Civil War), via dictatorships, wars, revolutions. He meets and brings to lifestyles the well-known and the common-or-garden, from Arthur Koestler to Emma, the Black Mammy of Moscow. it's the always a laugh, clever revelation of an American author travelling round the frequently unusual and constantly intriguing global he loves.

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Extra resources for Autobiography: I Wonder as I Wander

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They were, on the whole, so a companion whispered to me, younger and prettier than most of their wives. They were ladies of 44 Autobiography: I Wonder As I Wander the demimonde, playgirls, friends and mistresses of the hosts, their most choice females invited especially for zest and decorativeness. The party was held in a large old Spanish colonial house, presided over by a stout woman with bold ways. It began about four in the afternoon. At dusk dinner was served; then the fiesta went on far into the night.

At different periods Marian Anderson, Roland Hayes, and, most important, Paul Robeson also journeyed to the Soviet Union. Like Hughes, McKay retold his Soviet journey autobiographically in A Long Way from Home (1937). McKay, in 1922 the “first Negro to arrive in Russia since the revolution,” attended the Fourth Congress of the Communist International and addressed the Comintern. Like Hughes, he was treated as a black literary celebrity inside and outside the capital. As McKay states, “I went triumphantly from surprise to surprise, extravagantly fêted on every side.

Also among his informal cultural teachers was the Tadjik soldier Hajir, who acquainted Hughes with the supposed lovemaking and courtship practices of Tartar women. A “brownskin Uzbek lad,” Tajaiv, was most memorable because of his pride in helping to build a barracks. Hughes also met the Turkoman writer Kikilov, a “frail parchment-colored little poet” who was head of the Turkoman Writers Union. Most important, Hughes came to know Arthur Koestler, the journalist who had traveled to the North Pole and who wrote for the German newspaper chain Ullstein.

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