The encyclopedia is a two-volume, illustrated reference work of approximately 2,000 pages with about 600 entries that is the first comprehensive compilation of information about all aspects of this dynamic period. Thus, it includes essays on the principal participants in the Harlem Renaissance (as well as on others who were involved more tangentially as critics, promoters and interpreters) and their works; on those who defined the political, intellectual and cultural milieu in which the Renaissance existed; on important events and places; and on the major social, political and intellectual developments that created the context of the Harlem Renaissance. Entries of from 500 to 5,000 words fall into five main categories, which, for ease of review, have been subdivided into several areas (the encyclopedia itself is organized in an A-Z format). Each entry is followed by a brief list of selected further readings. In the case of person entries, a listing of the individual's publications (in the case of visual artists and musicians, listings of exhibits, artworks or compositions) and a capsule biographical sketch is also included.

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