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By: Nella Larsen (1891-1964)

Passing by Nella Larsen Passing

Nella Larsen, a writer of the Harlem Renaissance, wrote two brilliant novels that interrogated issues of gender and race. In Passing, her second novel published in 1929, she examines the troubled friendship between two mixed-race women who can pass as white. One, Irene Redfield, marries a black man and lives in Harlem, while the other, Clare Kendry, marries a bigoted white man. Clare re-enters Irene's life after an absence of many years, and stirs up painful questions about identity. (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)

Quicksand by Nella Larsen Quicksand

Quicksand is a 1928 novel by Nella Larsen, a writer of the Harlem Renaissance. It focuses on Helga Crane, a mixed-race woman who is a schoolteacher in the American south. As the novel opens, she suddenly decides to give up her teaching position and go north, back to her roots in Chicago. Helga's restless search for identity is semi-autobiographical, inspired by Larsen's own struggles to reconcile her mixed heritage with the racism of 1920s America. Although this novel was published after 1923, the copyright was never renewed and is therefore in the public domain. (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)


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