Dates: April 13, 1893 - March 30, 1964
Larsen, who had a Danish-born mother and a West Indies-born father, was a writer in the literary movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. Her two novels, Quicksand and Passing, involved issues of gender and racial identity.
The first African American woman to win the coveted Guggenheim fellowship for creative writing, Larsen is unfortunately typical of many Harlem Renaissance figures in that her career was short though brilliant. When the Depression and other forces signaled the end of this literary flowering, she left writing. She spent her last 30 years as a supervising nurse in a hospital in New York.
Nella Larsen on the Web
- "Passing" and the fading subject
Neil Sullivan, in this 1998 article from African American Review, looks at the racial identity and gender issues in the 1929 novel.
- Classroom Issues and Strategies
Helpful to students as well as teachers, this page highlights some of the key issues in reading Nella Larsen. Includes questions for reading or discussion and a very complete bibliography.
- Biography, image, further readings
About Nella Larsen
- Categories: Harlem Renaissance, writers, African American women
- Places: New York United States
- Period: 20th century
Also on this site
- Nella Larsen, Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance: A Woman's Life Unveiled: Thadious M. Davis. 1994.
- An Intimation of Things Distant: The Collected Fiction of NL: Nella Larsen, edited by Charles R. Larson. 1992.
- Harlem Renaissance and Beyond: Literary Biographies of 100 Black Women Writers 1900-1945: Lorraine Elena Roses and Ruth Elizabeth Randolph. Paperback, 1990. Buy the book
- Harlem's Glory: Black Women Writing 1900-1950: Lorraine Elena Roses and Ruth Elizabeth Randolph, editors. 1996.
More women's history biographies, by name:
Text copyright 1999-2006 © Jone Johnson Lewis.