Cover image for I call myself an artist : writings by and about Charles Johnson
I call myself an artist : writings by and about Charles Johnson
Johnson, Charles, 1948-
Publication Information:
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvii, 398 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3560.O3735 Z72 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Charles Johnson is one of the most talented artists currently working in America. All of his novels have been widely praised and read. Middle Passage won the National Book Award and established Johnson in the tradition of Ralph Ellison, one of his idols. In 1998 he was the recipient of one of the prestigious MacArthur "Genius" awards.

Though best known for his fiction, Johnson is also an accomplished essayist, reviewer, scriptwriter, and cartoonist. This collection gathers together a rich sampling of his work, including stories, speeches, cartoons, and interviews. A final section contains scholarly commentary by leading academic writers. I Call Myself an Artist provides a fascinating overview of the life work of one of America's most important creative minds.

Author Notes

Rudolph P. Byrd (1953-2011) was Associate Professor of American Studies and Director of the Program of African American Studies at Emory University. He is author of Jean Toomer's Years With Gurdjieff and Black Philosophical Fiction: The Art and Imagination of Charles Johnson. He is also the editor of Essentials by Jean Toomer and Generations in Black and White: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten from the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection.

Table of Contents

PrefaceRudolph P. Byrd
Part I Autobiographical Acts
Charles Johnson: An Autobiographical EssayCharles Johnson
Part II Fiction
First Words: Excerpts from the Early FictionCharles Johnson
Literary Outtakes: More from Oxherding Tale, (1990)Charles Johnson
Kwoon, (1991)Charles Johnson
The Writer's Notebook, (1992)Charles Johnson
The Work of the WorldCharles Johnson
Part III Essays and Addresses
Philosophy and Black Fiction, (1980)Charles Johnson
Whole Sight: Notes on New Black Fiction, (1984)Charles Johnson
Where Fiction and Philosophy Meet, (1988)Charles Johnson
Novelists of Memory, (1989)Charles Johnson
A Phenomenology of the Black Body, (1993)Charles Johnson
On Writers and Writing, (1993)Charles Johnson
Black Images and Their Global Impact, (1993)Charles Johnson
Northwestern Commencement Address, (1994)Charles Johnson
What is Man, (1995)Charles Johnson
Journal Entries on the Death of John Gardner, (1995)Charles Johnson
Part IV Reviews and Cultural Criticism
One Meaning of "Mo' Better Blues," (1991)Charles Johnson
Black Fiction's Father Figure, (1991)Charles Johnson
Spike Lee Does the Right Thing, (1992)Charles Johnson
Inventing Africa, (1992)Charles Johnson
Widening the Racial Divide, (1995)Charles Johnson
The King We Left Behind, (1996)Charles Johnson
Part V Charlie's Pad
A Capsule History of Blacks in ComicsCharles Johnson
Selected Cartoons
Part VI Interviews/Conversations
An Interview with Charles Johnson, (1993)Jonathan Little
Critic, Not Cynic: Charles Johnson and Stanley Crouch (1995)
VII, ReadingCharles Johnson
On Faith and the Good Thing
Philosophy and Hydrology: Situating Discourse in Charles Johnson's Faith and the Good ThingJohn McComber
On Oxherding Tale
Charles Johnson: Free At Last!Stanley Crouch
Johnson Revises Johnson: Oxherding Tale and The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored ManVera M. Kutzinski
Wrestling With Desire: Slavery and Masculinities in Oxherding TaleJeffrey B. Leak
Oxherding Tale and Siddhartha: Philosophy, Fiction, and the Emergence of a Hidden TraditionRudolph P. Byrd
On Being and Race: Black Writing Since 1970
Charles Johnson and the Philosopher's Ghost: The Phenomenological Thinking in Being and RaceMichael Boccia
On The Sorcerer's Apprentice
It Rests By Changing: Process in The Sorcerer's ApprenticeRudolph P. Byrd
On Middle Passage
Interrogating Identity: Appropriation and Transformation in Middle PassageDaniel M. Scott
The Phenomenology of the Allumersi: Charles Johnson and the Subject of the Narrative of SlaveryAshraf H.A. Rushdy