IN SEARCH OF NELLA LARSEN

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Harvard University Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 611 pages
3 Reviews

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.

  

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In search of Nella Larsen: a biography of the color line

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this biography of novelist Nella Larsen, Hutchinson (The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White) explores her work, life and place in social history, positing that the reason for Larsen's shadowy ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Lindi - Goodreads

Nella Larsen was a fascinating woman -- on top of being a Black woman raised outside African American culture, she was involved in many momentous institutions during the early 20th century. A student ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Nellie Walker
14
Inheriting the Color Line 18921898
23
State Street Years 18991907
36
Turning South Nashville and Fisk 19071908
53
Coming of Age in Copenhagen 19081912
64
A Black Woman in White New York 19121915
75
Rebel with a Cause Tuskegee 19151916
90
Year of Arrival 1928
268
Passing
294
A Star in Harlem 1929
311
Trouble in Mind 1930
343
A Novelist on Her Own 19301932
363
The Crack Up 19321933
398
Letting Go 19331937
424
The Recluse on Second Avenue 19381944
452

A Nurse in the Bronx 19161919
109
Sojourner in Harlem The Dawn of the Renaissance 19191923
128
Rooms Full of Children Seward Park and Harlem 19231924
153
High Bohemia 1925
178
The New Negro Model 1926
197
Quicksand
224
In the Mecca 1927
240
Nella Larsen Imes RN
463
Epilogue
483
Abbreviations
490
Notes
491
Acknowledgments
592
Index
597
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

George Hutchinson is Professor of English and Newton C. Farr Professor of American Culture at Cornell University.

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