Maud Martha: A Novel

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Maud Martha: A Novel


The only novella published by famed Chicago poet Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha is a loosely autobiographical narrative of a black woman growing up in Bronzeville, the hub of the Chicago Renaissance. On the streets of Bronzeville, Brooks interacted with both Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, influential echoes of the Harlem Renaissance. As African American Studies scholar Dr. Barbara Christian highlights, Maud Martha challenged stereotypes and tropes of black womanhood traditionally published in literature, presenting “for the first time a black woman not as a mammy, wench, mulatto or downtrodden heroine, but as an ordinary human being in all the wonder of her complexity.” Unfortunately, Maud Martha has historically remained out of print and lesser known in comparison to Brooks’s poetry collections.


Gwendolyn Brooks


New York: Harper & Brothers Publishing, 1953.




Gwendolyn Brooks, “Maud Martha: A Novel,” Grisham Bookshelf, accessed July 5, 2022,

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