Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
I Wonder As I Wander, originally published in 1956, is the second and last volume of Langston Hughes's autobiography. In the first volume, The Big Sea, Hughes focused on his early life and his involvement in the Harlem Renaissance; to a large degree it constitutes his memoirs of the Harlem Renaissance. I Wonder As I Wander is more personal. It is an account of his experiences and his musings during the 1930s, after he had distanced himself from the Harlem Renaissance, while he was in the most political phase of his long career, and while his travels took him across the United States and to the most exciting and troubled areas of the world -- the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin, China during the chaotic days preceding the Japanese invasion, Japan during the period when the military was consolidating its power, and Spain during its civil war. During his wanderings Hughes crossed paths with some of his generation's most interesting people. He traveled across Soviet Central Asia with Arthur Koestler and dined with Madam [Madame] Sun Yat Sen in Shanghai. However, the most vivid and interesting sections of the book describe his encounter with common people, often black, often vagabonds like himself -- Emma, the black mammy of Moscow, or Teddy Weatherford, the black jazz musician who befriended him in Shanghai.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1988