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Charles R. Johnson (Charles Richard Johnson) Biography

(1948– ), (Charles Richard Johnson), Black Humor, Half-Past Nation Time, Faith and the Good Thing

university fiction nineteenth black

African-American novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and screenwriter, born in Evanston, Illinois, educated at Southern Illinois University and the State University of New York. He began his artistic career as a cartoonist, and published two collections of comic art: Black Humor (1970) and Half-Past Nation Time (1972). His writings, both fiction and non-fiction, reflect his assiduous study of world philosophies. Johnson's first published novel, Faith and the Good Thing (1974), explores Faith's search for the meaning of life, the ‘good thing’. Oxherding Tale (1982), set in the nineteenth century, also concentrates on the search for enlightenment and liberation; Middle Passage (1990; National Book Award), a fictionalized slave narrative also set in the nineteenth century, is a metaphysical journey leading the protagonist, Rutherford Calhoun, on a quest for knowledge and self-revelation of which Johnson wrote the screen adaptation. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1986) is a volume of short stories. His collection of essays Being and Race: Black Writing Since 1970 (1988) asserts the importance of diverse philosophical fiction in contemporary African-American literature. He became Professor of English at the University of Washington.

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