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The Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVolume 6: The American Novel 1879-1940$
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Priscilla Wald and Michael A. Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385342

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195385342.001.0001

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The Harlem Renaissance Novel

The Harlem Renaissance Novel

(p.453) 28 The Harlem Renaissance Novel
The Oxford History of the Novel in English

Zita Nunes

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on American novels written during the Harlem Renaissance, a period of unprecedented artistic production spanning the early 1920s and the mid-1930s. Also known as the Negro Renaissance, the Harlem Renaissance coincided with the New Negro Movement in which art and culture became the primary medium for black writers, artists, and intellectuals to counter racism and to advocate social and political change. The chapter explores how Harlem Renaissance novels offered representations of black people using new technologies such as photography, film, and recordings. It also considers the Harlem Renaissance novel's depictions of sex and sexuality, along with the genres with which Harlem Renaissance writers experimented, including science fiction and detective fiction. Finally, the chapter looks at a number of Harlem Renaissance novels, including Carl Van Vechten's Nigger Heaven (1926), Rudolph Fisher's The Conjure-Man Dies: A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem (1932), Nella Larsen's Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929), W.E.B. Du Bois's Dark Princess (1928), Wallace Thurman's Infants of the Spring (1932), and Countee Cullen's One Way to Heaven (1932).

Keywords:   novel, Harlem Renaissance, Negro Renaissance, New Negro Movement, racism, black people, sex, Carl Van Vechten, Nella Larsen, W.E.B. Du Bois

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