Fine Clothes to the Jew

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Fine Clothes to the Jew
Author Langston Hughes
Country United States
Language English
Genre Poetry
Published 1927
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf

Fine Clothes to the Jew is a 1927 poetry collection by Langston Hughes published by Alfred A. Knopf. Because it departed from sentimental depictions of African-American culture, the collection was widely criticized, especially in the Black press, when it was published.[1]

Publication and response[edit]

The title appears in the poem "Hard Luck" in the book's first section.[2] It refers to a phrase popular in Harlem at the time, referring to citizens who would pawn fine clothes to predominately Jewish-owned pawn shops when they were short on money .[3]

The collection was Hughes' least successful in terms of both sales and critical reception.[4] However, his first work The Weary Blues and this collection made his reputation.[5] Biographer Arnold Rampersad called it Hughes' "most brilliant book of poems."[6]


  1. ^ Rummel, Jack; Wagner, Heather Lehr (2005) Langston Hughes: Poet, p. 52. Infobase Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7910-8250-8
  2. ^ Bercovitch, Sacvan (2003). The Cambridge History of American Literature: Poetry and criticism, 1900-1950, p. 323. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-30109-1
  3. ^ Nazel, Joe (2008). Langston Hughes, p. 140, Holloway House Publishing, ISBN 978-0-87067-937-7
  4. ^ Rampersad, Arnold (1986). Langston Hughes's Fine Clothes to the Jew. Callaloo, No. 26, Winter, 1986
  5. ^ Stewart, Jeffrey C (July 3, 1983). Uptown: the bard of urban. Los Angeles Times
  6. ^ Rampersad, Arnold (2002). The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902-1941, I, Too, Sing America. Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-514642-4