This chapter examines how Langston Hughes writes an autobiography as a literary genre. There were substantial pressures on a black autobiographer in the United States to construct himself as a subject that would represent African Americans in just the right ways: as valued citizens and loyal patriots. Hughes faced this issue not just in The Big Sea (1940) and I Wonder As I Wander (1956). This chapter analyzes the link between heterolingualism and Hughes' autobiographies. To this end, it weaves together texts and a host of intertexts, including the Spanish translations of Hughes' autobiographies, around scenes of translation. It shows how the historical exigencies impinging on Hughes' acts of self-writing are intertwined with broader theoretical concerns about autobiography as a literary genre. The chapter also considers the discourses of race, gender, and nationality as well as black internationalism and international modernism that Hughes takes to task in his autobiographies.
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