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About Nella Larsen
Nella Larsen (1891-1964) was the author of two novels and several short stories. She received a Guggenheim fellowship to write a third novel in 1930 but, unable to find a publisher for it, she disappeared from the literary scene and worked as a nurse.
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Books By Nella Larsen
This Signet Classics edition of Passing includes an Introduction by Brit Bennett, the bestselling author of The Vanishing Half.
Irene Redfield is a Black woman living an affluent, comfortable life with her husband and children in the thriving neighborhood of Harlem in the 1920s. When she reconnects with her childhood friend Clare Kendry, who is similarly light-skinned, Irene discovers that Clare has been passing for a white woman after severing ties to her past—even hiding the truth from her racist husband.
Clare finds herself drawn to Irene’s sense of ease and security with her Black identity and longs for the community (and, increasingly, the woman) she lost. Irene is both riveted and repulsed by Clare and her dangerous secret, as Clare begins to insert herself—and her deception—into every part of Irene’s stable existence. First published in 1929, Larsen’s brilliant examination of the various ways in which we all seek to “pass,” is as timely as ever.
One of the most acclaimed and influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen published her powerful first novel in 1928. Quicksand features intriguing autobiographical parallels with Larsen's own life, in addition to reflecting many aspects of African-American culture of the 1920s. Alice Walker praised it and Passing (Larsen's second novel, also available in a Dover edition) as "novels I will never forget. They open up a whole world of experience and struggle that seemed to me, when I first read them years ago, absolutely absorbing, fascinating, and indispensable."
Now a major Netflix film starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and Alexander Skarsgård
Childhood friends Clare and Irene are both light-skinned enough to pass as white, but only one of them has chosen to cross the colour line and live with the secret hanging over her. Clare believes she had successfully cut herself off from any connection to her past. Married to a racist white man who is oblivious to her African-American heritage, it is vital to her that the truth remains hidden. Irene is living as a middle-class Black woman with her husband and children in Harlem, taking on an important role in her community and embracing her origins.
Both women are forced to re-examine their relationships with each other, with their husbands and with the truth, confronting their most closely guarded fears. Nella Larsen's powerful, tragic and acutely observant writing established her as a lodestar of America's Harlem Renaissance. Almost a century later, Passing and its nuanced exploration of the many fraught ways in which we seek to survive remains as timely as ever
Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing is hailed today as a significant literary work of Harlem Renaissance, though for several decades it, like all of her works, was out of print. As history rights a wrong and recommits Larsen’s name to memory, it is beneficial to look at the other writings she published over her short career, collected here in Beyond Passing: The Further Writings of Nella Larsen. Contained within are her autobiographical novel Quicksand, and three short stories: “Freedom,” “The Wrong Man,” and “Sanctuary.”
With a growing number of titles under its Magna Releases banner, CSRC Storytelling promotes and provides positivity, power and presence in print, restoring literary classics across genres and making them newly accessible to modern readers. This collection of Nella Larsen stories is a CSRC Storytelling Magna Release.
Zunehmend ist Irene beunruhigt über Clares leichtsinniges Verhalten, zumal die attraktive Freundin eine magische Wirkung auf ihren Ehemann zu haben scheint: Clare, die Wanderin zwischen den Welten, liebt die Gefahr und das Spiel mit dem Feuer.
Verfilmt von Rebecca Hall mit Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga und Alexander Skarsgård in den Hauptrollen. Demnächst auf Netflix.