Introduction by Arnold Rampersad. Langston Hughes, born in 1902, came of age early in the 1920s. In The Big Sea he recounts those memorable years in the two great playgrounds of the decade--Harlem and Paris. In Paris he was a cook and waiter in nightclubs. He knew the musicians and dancers, the drunks and dope fiends. In Harlem he was a rising young poet--at the center of the Harlem Renaissance. Arnold Rampersad writes in his incisive new introduction to The Big Sea , an American classic: This is American writing at its best--simpler than Hemingway; as simple and direct as that of another Missouri-born writer...Mark Twain.