Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen were two of the most iconic figures of the Harlem Renaissance, and their social and intellectual odyssey through this golden period of African American writing was marked by ground-breaking novels, conflicts over the representation of African American literature and culture, and both open and subtle rebellion against commonplaces of gender, race, sexuality, class and literary convention. This course will examine the major writings of these two remarkable women, marking their contributions to American writing and the African American experience, including American modernism. Rather than study them in the shadow of men writing in the period and ignoring their unique cultural and intellectual backgrounds, we will explore how they uniquely managed and explored the complex and shifting American landscape of the early 20th century.

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