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From the Publisher”Sexism, racism, self-hatred, and romantic love: all figure in prominently in this scholarly-but nicely hard-boiled-discussion of the bond between the famous Paul Laurence Dunbar and his wife Alice. Eleanor Alexander's analysis of turn-of-the-twentieth-century black marriage is required reading for every student of American, especially African-American, heterosexual relationships."
-Nell Painter,Edwards Professor of American History, Princeton University, author of Sojourner Truth, A Life, A Symbol
"In examining what she calls the ‘tragic' courtship and marriage of poets Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore, Alexander visits the private history of this public couple as a vehicle for writing an intimate social history. . . . a masterful analysis of middle-class African Americans."
-Rosalyn Terborg-Penn,Morgan State University
"Tells a fascinating tale of two compelling figures whose lives were intriguing, at times harrowing, and in many ways tragic. At the same time, Alexander investigates a broader topic. . .A riveting narrative."
"Rich in documentation and generous in analysis, Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow advances our understanding of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American social and cultural history in compelling and unexpected ways. By exposing the devastating consequences of unequal power dynamics and gender relations in the union of the celebrated writers, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore, and by examining the hidden underside of the Dunbars' storybook romance where alcohol, sex, and violence prove fatal, Eleanor Alexander produces a provocative, nuanced interpretation of late Victorian courtship and marriage, of post-emancipation racial respectability and class mobility, of pre-modern sexual rituals and color conventions in an emergent elite black society."
-Thadious M. Davis,Vanderbilt University
"Alexander's significant, welcome book gives us so much to think about in the moving story of two people, trying to find their way into the world and each other's lives."
-The New York Times Book Review