In Search of Nella Larsen by George Hutchinson
A Biography of the Color Line

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Synopsis

Born to a Danish seamstress and a black West Indian cook, Nella Larsen lived her life in the shadows of America's racial divide. Her writings about that life, briefly celebrated in her time, were lost to later generations--only to be rediscovered and hailed by many. In his search for Nella Larsen, George Hutchinson exposes the truths and half-truths surrounding her, 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.
 

About George Hutchinson

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George Hutchinson is Professor of English and Newton C. Farr Professor of American Culture at Cornell University.
 
Published June 30, 2009 by Harvard University Press. 624 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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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 status as a writer of the Harlem Renaissance is tied to the shifting color line in American society.

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London Review of Books

Taft administrations, opened his novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) with the sentence: ‘I know that in writing the following pages I am divulging the great secret of my life, the secret which for some years I have guarded far more carefully than any of my earthly possessions’ – t...

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Project MUSE

Comprising almost half of the volume, the book’s coverage of the Renaissance years demonstrates Hutchinson’s rich sense of the period—knowledge that first led to his well-received 1995 Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, in which he challenged critics to recognize that “links between modern Am...

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