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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

11. Modernist Portraits

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities

Nella Larsen - Selected Archive Items

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[4553] James Allen, Portrait of Nella Larsen (1928),
courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Author of Quicksand, Larsen wrote novels and short stories that explore the intersection of race, class, and gender. She composed during the Harlem Renaissance.

[7405] Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Josephine Baker (1949),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-93000].
Photograph of performer Josephine Baker in Paris. A major center for modernist artists, Paris was thought to be less restrictive than America.

[7406] Duke Ellington, half-length portrait, seated at piano, facing right (1965),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-123232].
Photograph of jazz musician Duke Ellington playing the piano. Rhythms and images from jazz influenced writers and visual artists of the Harlem Renaissance.

[7408] Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Bessie Smith Holding Feathers (1936),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-94955].
Writers and musicians of the Harlem Renaissance debated how to best depict African Americans, especially in terms of gender. Some were influenced by primitivism, or an emphasis on earlier African images.

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