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"For Endless Generations": Myth, Dynasty, and Frank Yerby's The Foxes of Harrow

"For Endless Generations": Myth, Dynasty, and Frank Yerby's The Foxes of Harrow “For Endless Generations”: Myth, Dynasty, and Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow by Gene Andrew Jarrett In terms of commercial popularity, Frank Garvin Yerby was the most successful African American novelist in the second half of the twentieth century. From The Foxes of Harrow in 1946 to McKenzie’s Hundred in 1986, he published thirty-three diff erent novels: three were translated into fi lm, one for television; twelve were bestsellers; almost all were selections of the Book of the Month Club; they have been trans- lated into over thirty languages; and, to date, over sixty million copies of them have been sold around the world. Yet Yerby is generally absent from anthologies of American literature, and even from those of African American literature. Although he died a little over a decade ago, in 1991, still only a handful of studies of him exist, and they are more biographi- cal than critical. Granted, Yerby’s novels consistently suff ered unfavor- able reviews, but such harsh criticism — which contemporary literary scholars might be more than willing to reiterate — should not discourage us from speculating on how and why such constrictive aesthetic judg- ment has persisted around popular fi ction and Yerby’s http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

"For Endless Generations": Myth, Dynasty, and Frank Yerby's The Foxes of Harrow

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

“For Endless Generations”: Myth, Dynasty, and Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow by Gene Andrew Jarrett In terms of commercial popularity, Frank Garvin Yerby was the most successful African American novelist in the second half of the twentieth century. From The Foxes of Harrow in 1946 to McKenzie’s Hundred in 1986, he published thirty-three diff erent novels: three were translated into fi lm, one for television; twelve were bestsellers; almost all were selections of the Book of the Month Club; they have been trans- lated into over thirty languages; and, to date, over sixty million copies of them have been sold around the world. Yet Yerby is generally absent from anthologies of American literature, and even from those of African American literature. Although he died a little over a decade ago, in 1991, still only a handful of studies of him exist, and they are more biographi- cal than critical. Granted, Yerby’s novels consistently suff ered unfavor- able reviews, but such harsh criticism — which contemporary literary scholars might be more than willing to reiterate — should not discourage us from speculating on how and why such constrictive aesthetic judg- ment has persisted around popular fi ction and Yerby’s

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 8, 2007

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