In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line

In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line

by George Hutchinson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674021800

ISBN-13: 9780674021808

Pub. Date: 05/28/2006

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Born to a Danish seamstress and a black West Indian cook in one of the Western Hemisphere's most infamous vice districts, Nella Larsen (1891-1964) lived her life in the shadows of America's racial divide. She wrote about that life, was briefly celebrated in her time, then was lost to later generations--only to be rediscovered and hailed by many as the best black

Overview

Born to a Danish seamstress and a black West Indian cook in one of the Western Hemisphere's most infamous vice districts, Nella Larsen (1891-1964) lived her life in the shadows of America's racial divide. She wrote about that life, was briefly celebrated in her time, then was lost to later generations--only to be rediscovered and hailed by many as the best black novelist of her generation. In his search for Nella Larsen, the "mystery woman of the Harlem Renaissance," George Hutchinson exposes the truths and half-truths surrounding this central figure of modern literary studies, as well as the complex reality they mask and mirror. His book is a cultural biography of the color line as it was lived by one person who truly embodied all of its ambiguities and complexities.

Author of a landmark study of the Harlem Renaissance, Hutchinson here produces the definitive account of a life long obscured by misinterpretations, fabrications, and omissions. He brings Larsen to life as an often tormented modernist, from the trauma of her childhood to her emergence as a star of the Harlem Renaissance. Showing the links between her experiences and her writings, Hutchinson illuminates the singularity of her achievement and shatters previous notions of her position in the modernist landscape. Revealing the suppressions and misunderstandings that accompany the effort to separate black from white, his book addresses the vast consequences for all Americans of color-line culture's fundamental rule: race trumps family.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674021808
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
05/28/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
624
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.10(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Nellie Walker

2. Inheriting the Color Line, 1892-1898

3. State Street Years, 1899-1907

4. Turning South: Nashville and Fisk, 1907-1908

5. Coming of Age in Copenhagen, 1908-1912

6. A Black Woman in White, 1912-1915

7. Rebel with a Cause: Tuskegee, 1915-1916

8. A Nurse in the Bronx, 1916-1919

9. Sojourner in Harlem: the Dawn of the "Renaissance," 1919-1921

10. Rooms Full of Children: Seward Park and harlem, 1923-1924

11. High Bohemia, 1925

12. New Negro, Model 1926

13. Quicksand

14. In the Mecca, 1927

15. Year of Arrival, 1928
16. Passing

17. A Star in Harlem, 1929

18. Trouble in Mind, 1930

19. A Novelist on Her Own, 1930-1932

20. The Crack-Ip, 1932-1933

21. Letting Go, 1933-1937

22. The Recluse on Second Avenue, 1938-1944

23. Nella Larsen Imes, R.N.

Epilogue

Abbreviations

Notes

Acknowledgements

Index

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