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Defining Moments in History:Nella Larsen

Author/Speaker: Rosalynn Shropshire Historian

Nellallitea 'Nella' Larsen (first called Nellie Walker) (April 13, 1891 – March 30, 1964) was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance who wrote two novels and a few short stories. Though her literary output was scant, what she wrote was of extraordinary quality, earning her recognition by her contemporaries and by present-day critics.

Nella Larsen was of biracial parentage, which some at the time considered at the time "low birth." She obtained a good education (though not a college degree); she married into Harlem's black professional class (but never quite felt at home in it); she knew all the major figures of the Harlem Renaissance, but was about a decade older than Langston Hughes' generation.

1928 Quicksand
1929 Passing

Other Works
1926 "Freedom"
1926 "The Wrong Man"
1930 "Sanctuary"

Quicksand, Nella Larsen's powerful first novel, has intriguing autobiographical parallels.

Thadious M. Davis, Nella Larsen, Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance: A Woman's Life Unveiled by (ISBN 0-8071-2070-7).

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