Quicksand, Nella Larsen’s debut novel (published 1928) was not nearly as satisfying to me as her second one, Passing (published 1929), which I found a complex but intriguing look at race and repressed sexuality for a light-skinned “coloured” woman in New York during the Harlem Renaissance (thoughts here). Despite my frustrations with Quicksand, it is

Read Post

In Jessie Redmon Fauset’s second published novel, Plum Bun: A Novel without a Moral (published 1928), one woman struggles to finding her own identity racially and sexually in New York City during the vibrant years of the Harlem Renaissance. Artist Angela Murray is a light-skinned “coloured” woman in the transitional years of the late 1910s

Read Post

Claude McKay was born in Jamaica 1889, and in 1912, after his first volume of Jamaican dialect poetry was published in Jamaica, he traveled to the USA, eventually settling in New York City and becoming a part of the Harlem Renaissance movement of artistic expression. In Harlem Shadows (published 1922), McKay captures his shock and

Read Post

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by time. (page 1) From this beginning, Zora Neale

Read Post

Passing by Nella Larsen (first published 1929) captures the conflicts that young African-American women face in 1920s America. Although solidly a part of the Harlem Renaissance in the ways it tackles racial issues, Passing also magnificently captures a young woman’s repressed sexuality. The terms “passing” refers to a light-skinned African-American acting as white in order

Read Post

I had to keep reminding myself that The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson was actually a novel. It was realistic, and it was engaging and entertaining at the same time. Even more, it has a place in history alongside true-life narratives as an account of what some African-Americans may have felt

Read Post

In 1934, an African-American doctor invented a surgical procedure that allowed black people to become white (specially, Nordic) in all respects. Black No More, Incorporated, became a highly profitable business, and the people of world were forever changed. Such is the premise of George S. Schuyler’s Black No More. It caught my eye because of

Read Post

Although I didn’t love Jazz as much as I loved Toni Morrison’s Beloved, I found it to have a similar depth. I know such depth requires me to reread it in order to truly sum up the main point of the novel. Because I’ve only read it once, I’m somewhat stumped as I go to

Read Post

In preparation for the upcoming (February) Harlem Renaissance Classics Circuit, I’ve been reading a lot of introductory material to prepare for the introductory information we need to write for the sign up post. As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t feel like an expert in anything, so I love having The Classics Circuit to get me

Read Post