Unnatural Selections: Eugenics in American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance

Unnatural Selections: Eugenics in American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance

by Daylanne K. English
     
 

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Unnatural Selections: Eugenics in American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance

Overview

Unnatural Selections: Eugenics in American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[An] interesting and timely book . . . English challenges literary scholars' tendency to elevate literature beyond the ideologies and politics of its time. . . . Intellectually perceptive."
Journal of African American History

English's most significant contribution is the unusual juxtaposition and sustained connection of literary lives across the matrix of color, class, and gender. Her refusal to isolate "black" from "white" and "male" from "female" leads her to some rather remarkable readings, giving this book a formidable intellectual heft.(Matthew Pratt Guterl, Indiana University)

This brilliantly achieved study demonstrates the "partnership" between eugenics and class-based, racial uplift thinking that has received insufficient notice in the past. English's arguments have grave implications for contemporary debates over immigration policy and state regulation of the poor.(Aldon Nielsen, The Pennsylvania State University)

English links writers from the Harlem Renaissance and American modernism to debates about eugenics in the Progressive Era. She argues that writings by figures as disparate as W. E. B. Du Bois, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, and Nella Larsen were shaped by anxieties regarding immigration, migration, and intraracial breeding.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807855317
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
04/26/2004
Edition description:
1
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
English's Unnatural Selections provides a more expansive and complex definition of eugenics, as well as a sense of its diverse contexts. . . . Well written, intellectually thorough, and well illustrated. . . . [An] exciting, exemplary new contribution[s] that will be useful to scholars in African American literature as well as American studies.—American Literature

This brilliantly achieved study demonstrates the 'partnership' between eugenics and class-based, racial uplift thinking that has received insufficient notice in the past. English's arguments have grave implications for contemporary debates over immigration policy and state regulation of the poor.—Aldon Nielsen, Pennsylvania State University

English's most significant contribution is the unusual juxtaposition and sustained connection of literary lives across the matrix of color, class, and gender. Her refusal to isolate 'black' from 'white' and 'male' from 'female' leads her to some rather remarkable readings, giving this book a formidable intellectual heft.—Matthew Pratt Guterl, Indiana University

[An] interesting and timely book . . . English challenges literary scholars' tendency to elevate literature beyond the ideologies and politics of its time. . . . Intellectually perceptive.—Journal of African American History

Well-crafted. . . . English offers her work as a model for writing the history of broad trends in American literature and culture without losing sight of crucial issues of race and gender.—Journal of Southern History

Meet the Author

Daylanne K. English is associate professor of African American literature at Macalester College.

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