[Blackstudies-l] Prize-Winning Biography:THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF EDMONIA LEWIS

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Tue Nov 10 06:33:36 EST 2015

and Albert Henderson

KIRKUS REVIEWS said, “The Hendersons’ monument of research and
craftsmanship seeks to give Lewis the consideration that she has been
denied—not dissimilar to the artist’s own commitment to proving her
competitors and critics wrong, demonstrating that a minority could take on
the hegemonic tradition of fine arts. The book provides crystalline
accounts of Lewis’ feuds and mentorships, as well as rich illustrations of
the works being discussed throughout. Overall, the authors deliver a
well-constructed mix of primary resources, critical analysis and literary
flourishes.” MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW called it "a key acquisition for any arts
or African-American history holding ... it reads with the passion and drama
of good literature." GOODREADS accorded it Five Stars (out of five),
remarking, “even though it is classified as a narrative biography, don't
expect to find extended scenes of improvised dialogue or re-imagined day to
day occurrences fleshed out by artistic license. The book remains academic
and serious in nature throughout, but with conjecture here and there
concerning what Edmonia must have been thinking and feeling.” THE
WASHINGTON TIMES termed it "A definitive biography." It received the GOLD
eLit Award for biography, "Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence."

This first full-length biography of Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) reveals Harry
Henderson’s* decades of original research into 19th-century sources. It
casts new light on her most famous works of art, including her unique
Emancipation tributes based on a freedwoman theme – “The Freed Woman and
Her Child,” “Forever Free,” and “Hagar” – her erotic masterwork – “The
Death of Cleopatra” – her insightful portrait of Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow, her award-winning cherubs, and others. It also suggests a
connection to the Jesuits at Kahnawake on the NY/QC border as well as to
the Chippewa of Niagara Falls.

Today she is well-recognized, her work treasured by great museums and avid
collectors, her struggles too familiar to women and minorities. Thanks to
her unique vision as an American woman of color, she left a triple legacy—
first American sculptor to idealize the freed female slave, first
African-American sculptor to celebrate Emancipation, first Native American
to sculpt her people in the neoclassical medium – in addition to her
insightful portraits, religious themes, and popular subjects.

As the most controversial artist of her day, Lewis attracted some of the
most famous literary, feminist, anti-slavery, artistic, religious, and
other celebrities of her time, she is of special interest to students of
American art history and appreciation, women’s history, African-American
studies, American studies, and Native-American studies, as well as scholars
of race, gender, religion, and the 19th-century American novel.

=>  Harry Henderson* and Albert Henderson, “THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF
EDMONIA LEWIS. A NARRATIVE BIOGRAPHY,” Esquiline Hill Press, 2012. US$9.99
ebook only. ISBN 978-1-58863-452-8 (epub). PDF and Amazon Kindle formats
are also available. Note, as a native ebook (i.e. not scanned from print),
print size is adjustable and all notes, as well as contents, hyperlink with
the text. Copies are available from many online booksellers and libraries
for Adobe Digital Editions, Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, Kobo, Nook, PC, MAC,
and other readers. Libraries may acquire it via EBSCOhost, OverDrive, Baker
& Taylor, Axis 360, YBP, 3M, or UntreedReads 510-861-0663.

*Harry Henderson also co-authored (with Romare Bearden) the ‘landmark’
survey, “A History of African American Artists from 1792” (1993), and “6
Black Masters of American Art” (1972). Albert Henderson is past editor of
“Publishing Research Quarterly” and has contributed many articles to the
scholarly press.

A sample chapter and more details may be found at www.edmonialewis.com.

Best wishes, Albert Henderson, co-author

PS. If you would rather not receive informational notices about Edmonia
Lewis, simply reply with the words “please remove” in the subject area.
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