ISBN-10: 0142437271

ISBN-13: 9780142437278

Edition: N/A

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Clare Kendry leads a dangerous life. Fair, elegant, and ambitious, she is married to a white man unaware of her African American heritage, and has severed all ties to her past. Clare's childhood friend, Irene Redfield, just as light-skinned, has chosen to remain within the African American community, but refuses to acknowledge the racism that continues to constrict her family's happiness. A chance encounter forces both women to confront the lies they have told others-and the secret fears they have buried within themselves. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Thadious M. Davis
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Book details

List price: $14.00
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/4/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

Nella Larsen was associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She also worked as a librarian and a nurse in New York City, pursuing nursing after her brief, successful writing career until her death in 1964. Larsen's mother was Danish, and her father was West Indian; she used her experience as the child of middle-class parents in a mixed marriage to create characters in two novels who are stranded, caught between two cultures and unable to feel wholly at home in either. In each of Larsen's novels, the heroine suffers suffocating constrictions of her identity in both African American and white European culture. These crises in both Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929) are further complicated by the heroine's quest for sexual as well as social identity, and both novels end without hopeful resolution. Both contain autobiographical elements, but Quicksand, the more successful, reproduced in fictional form many of the circumstances of Larsen's own early life. Although her work had been out of print for many years, she has recently been rediscovered.

Thadious M. Davis is Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

Introduction: Nella Larsen's Erotics of Race
A Note on the Text
The Text of Passing
Backgrounds and Contexts
"Passing" Is a Novel of Longings (April 27, 1929)
Beyond the Color Line (April 28, 1929)
The Color Line (April 28, 1929)
The Dilemma of Mixed Race: Another Study of the Color-line in New York (May 1, 1929)
As in a Looking Glass (May 3, 1929)
Touch of the Tar-brush (May 18, 1929)
Passing (June 1929)
The Cat Came Back (June 5, 1929)
Novel of Race Consciousness (June 23, 1929)
Passing (July 1929)
Passing (July 1929)
Passing (Aug. 1929)
Do They Always Return? (Sept. 28, 1929)
Passing (Dec. 1929)
Passing (Dec. 12, 1929)
Contemporary Coverage of Passing and Race
When Is a Caucasian Not a Caucasian? (March 2, 1911)
Writer Says Brazil Has No Color Line (Oct. 1925)
Does It Pay to "Pass?" (Aug. 20, 1927)
From White Negroes (May-June 1928)
3,000 Negroes Cross the Line Each Year (July 12, 1928)
From Negro to Caucasion, Or How the Ethiopian Is Changing His Skin (1929)
Crossing the Color Line (July 28, 1929)
From Crossing the Color Line (Aug. 26, 1931)
75,000 Pass in Philadelphia Every Day (Dec. 19, 1931)
Careful Lyncher! He May Be Your Brother (Jan. 21, 1932)
Blonde Girl Was 'Passing' (Jan. 23, 1932)
Virginia Is Still Hounding 'White' Negroes Who 'Pass'
The Rhinelander/Jones Case
Society Youth Weds Cabman's Daughter (Nov. 14, 1924)
Poor Girl to Fight Hubby's Parents (Dec. 26, 1924)
From Calls Rhinelander Dupe of Girl He Wed (Nov. 10, 1925)
From Loved Rhinelander, Wife's Letters Say (Nov. 13, 1925)
From Rhinelander Bares Love Secrets (Nov. 21, 1925)
From Kip's "Soul Message" Notes Read (Nov. 28. 1925)
From Rhinelander Jury Reaches a Decision after Twelve Hours (Dec. 5, 1925)
[Rhinelander Editorial], The Crisis (Jan. 1926)
Rhinelander Gets a Fair Deal (Jan. 26, 1926)
Mrs. Rhinelander to Sail (July 16, 1926)
About Nella Larsen
New Author Unearthed Right Here in Harlem (May 23, 1928)
Behind the Backs of Books and Authors (April 13, 1929)
Jean Blackwell Hutson to Louise Fox (Aug. 1, 1969)
Author's Statements
[Nella Larsen Imes, Guggenheim Application]
[In Defense of Sanctuary]
To Carl Van Vechten [1925]
To Charles S. Johnson [Aug. 1926]
To Eddie Wasserman [April 3, 1928]
To Eddie Wasserman [April 5, 1928]
To Dorothy Peterson [n.d.]
To Dorothy Peterson [July 19, 1927]
To Dorothy Peterson [July 21, 1927]
To Dorothy Peterson [Aug. 2, 1927]
To Langston Hughes [n.d.]
To Langston Hughes [1930]
To Carl Van Vechten [April 15, 1929]
To Gertrude Stein (Jan. 26, 1931)
To Carl Van Vechten [May 14, 1932]
The Tragic Mulatto (A)
The Quadroons
From The Garies and Their Friends
From Clotel
From Iola Leroy
From An Imperative Duty
The Father of Desiree's Baby
From Pudd'nhead Wilson
From The House Behind the Cedars
The Octoroon
Near White
From Imitation of Life
Selections from Stories and Novels of Passing: "The Moment of Regret"
From Iola Leroy
From The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
From Flight
From Plum Bun
From Black No More
Selected Writings from the Harlem Renaissance
The Mulatto to His Critics
The Sleeper Wakes
Two Who Crossed a Line
Criteria of Negro Art
From The Negro-Art Hokum
From Nigger Heaven
Passing for White, Passing for Colored, Passing for Negroes Plus
Nella Larsen's Passing: A Study in Irony
Nella Larsen's Passing: A Problem of Interpretation
Nella Larsen: Mystery Woman of the Harlem Renaissance
From Passing for What? Aspects of Identity in Nella Larsen's Novels
[From Black Female Sexuality in Passing]
Nella Larsen's Harlem Aesthetic
From Miscegenation and "The Dicta of Race and Class": The Rhinelander Case and Nella Larsen's Passing
Clare Kendry's "True" Colors: Race and Class Conflict in Nella Larsen's Passing
From Sororophobia
Passing, Queering: Nella Larsen's Psychoanalytic Challenge
From Passing Fancies
Nella Larsen and the Veil of Race
From The Recurring Conditions of Nella Larsen's Passing
Passing and Domestic Tragedy
Passing: Race, Identification, and Desire
Racial Etiquette: Nella Larsen's Passing and the Rhinelander Case
A Chronology
Selected Bibliography
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