Dorothy West's Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color [NOOK Book]

Overview


Dorothy West is best known as one of the youngest writers involved in the Harlem Renaissance. Subsequently, her work is read as a product of the urban aesthetics of this artistic movement. But West was also intimately rooted in a very different milieu—Oak Bluffs, an exclusive retreat for African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard. She played an integral role in the development and preservation of that community. In the years between publishing her two novels, 1948’s The Living is Easy and the 1995 bestseller The ...

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Dorothy West's Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color

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Overview


Dorothy West is best known as one of the youngest writers involved in the Harlem Renaissance. Subsequently, her work is read as a product of the urban aesthetics of this artistic movement. But West was also intimately rooted in a very different milieu—Oak Bluffs, an exclusive retreat for African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard. She played an integral role in the development and preservation of that community. In the years between publishing her two novels, 1948’s The Living is Easy and the 1995 bestseller The Wedding, she worked as a columnist for the Vineyard Gazette.

Dorothy West’s Paradise captures the scope of the author’s long life and career, reading it alongside the unique cultural geography of Oak Bluffs and its history as an elite African American enclave—a place that West envisioned both as a separatist refuge and as a space for interracial contact. An essential book for both fans of West’s fiction and students of race, class, and American women’s lives, Dorothy West’s Paradise offers an intimate biography of an important author and a privileged glimpse into the society that shaped her work.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"Interest in the life and works of Dorothy West, now generally recognized as the last surviving artist of the Harlem Renaissance, has surged in the 21st century. In this new biography, Sherrard-Johnson emphasizes West's childhood as the dark-skinned daughter of a light-skinned African American Boston beauty, and her explorations, through her writing, or intra-racial color and class divisions. Recommended."
editor of Shadowed Dreams: Women's Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance - Maureen Honey

"Soundly researched and well written, Dorothy West's Paradise adds significantly to our understanding of the Harlem Renaissance and its youngest surviving member."
author of IDA, A Sword Among Lions - Paula J. Giddings

“An illuminating study that should secure West’s place in the canon and at the center of the racial geography of place, gender, and class.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813552248
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 462 KB

Meet the Author


CHERENE SHERRARD-JOHNSON is professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and African American literature, cultural studies, and feminist theory. She is the author of Portraits of the New Negro Woman: Visual and Literary Culture in the Harlem Renaissance and the editor of a new, annotated edition of Jessie Redmon Fauset’s last novel, Comedy: American Style, both from Rutgers University Press.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments

Introduction
1. A "Legend of Oak Bluffs"
2. Childhood Sketches
3. Dorothy West's "Typewriter"
4. To Russia with Love
5. New Challenges
6. The Living is Easy
7. Cottager's Corner
8. Two Weddings
Coda: "Winter on Martha's Vineyard"

Notes
Bibliography
Index
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