"Quicksand and Passing are 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."--Alice Walker
"Discovering Nella Larsen is like finding lost money with no name on it. One can enjoy it with delight and share it without guilt." --Maya Angelou
"A hugely influential and insightful writer." --The New York Times
"Larsen's heroines are complex, restless, figures, whose hungers and frustrations will haunt every sensitive reader. Quicksand and Passing are slender novels with huge themes." -- Sarah Waters
"A tantalizing mix of moral fable and sensuous colorful narrative, exploring female sexuality and racial solidarity."-Women's Studies International Forum
Rutgers' all-time bestselling book, Nella Larsen's novels Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929) document the historical realities of Harlem in the 1920s and shed a bright light on the social world of the black bourgeoisie. The novels' greatest appeal and achievement, however, is not sociological, but psychological. As noted in the editor's comprehensive introduction, Larsen takes the theme of psychic dualism, so popular in Harlem Renaissance fiction, to a higher and more complex level, displaying a sophisticated understanding and penetrating analysis of black female psychology.
About the Author
Deborah E. McDowell is professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Nellallitea "Nella" Larsen, born Nellie Walker (April 13, 1891 – March 30, 1964), was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance. The daughter of Peter Walker, a mulatto Afro-Caribbean immigrant from the West Indies and Marie Walker, née Hansen, a Danish immigrant, Larsen worked as both a nurse and a librarian. Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929) were her only novels, although she wrote some short stories. She earned some recognition during her lifetime, but there was a great revival of interest in her work in the latter part of the 20th Century, largely due to the publication of this edition.