Chester Himes

Norlisha Crawford (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)
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Chester Bomar Himes was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, on July 29, 1909. He died in Benissa, Spain, on November 13, 1984, of Parkinson’s disease. Over the course of the 75 years in between, Himes’ life went from that of an adored son in a middle-class home to a violent convict in a federal penitentiary to an author of literary works read over time by millions in the United States and abroad. James Sallis remarks, “Himes’s life and fiction seem uniquely linked… in complex ways, and his work, for all of its apparent diversity, uniquely of a piece” (3). Himes himself declares from the back cover of


, “The best a black writer can do is to deal with subjects [that] are personal, so he can tell how it was for him.” The complexities of U.S. history and black life…

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Citation: Crawford, Norlisha. "Chester Himes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 March 2009 [, accessed 13 June 2024.]

2145 Chester Himes 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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