There Is Confusion

There Is Confusion

Jessie Redmon Fauset

Fiction / Classics / Cultural

A rediscovered classic about how racism and sexism tests the spirit, ambition, and character of three children growing up in Hell's Kitchen and Harlem, from the literary editor of The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP Set in early twentieth-century New York City, There Is Confusion tells the story of Joanna Marshall, a talented dancer willing to sacrifice everything for success; Maggie Ellersley, an extraordinarily beautiful girl determined to leave her working-class background behind; and Peter Bye, a clever would-be surgeon who is driven by his love for Joanna. As children, Maggie, Joanna, and Peter support each other's dreams. But when romance threatens to change the balance of their friendship, Joanna makes two irrevocable decisions—and sets off a chain of events that wreaks havoc with all of their lives. First published to immense critical acclaim in 1924, written with an Austen-like eye for social dynamics and insight into...
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Plum Bun

Plum Bun

Jessie Redmon Fauset

Fiction / Classics / Cultural

Jessie Redmon Fauset's Plum Bun (1928) is a moving, delicately observed coming-of-age novel––one that brilliantly exemplifies the cultural, social, and creative ferment of the Harlem Renaissance. Its heroine, the young, talented, light-skinned Angela Murray, hopes for more from life than her black Philadelphia neighborhood and her middle-class upbringing seem to offer. Seeking romantic and creative fulfilment, and refusing to accept racist and sexist obstacles to her ambition, she makes a radical choice: to pass as white, and study art in New York City. Against the vivid, cosmopolitan backdrop of Harlem and Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, her subsequent journey through seduction, betrayal, protest, and solidarity is ultimately a journey toward self-understanding. Along the way, Fauset includes fictionalized portraits of leading Harlem Renaissance figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois (for whom she edited The Crisis) and the sculptor Augusta Savage,...
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The Chinaberry Tree

The Chinaberry Tree

Jessie Redmon Fauset

Fiction / Classics / Cultural

Adultery, incest, and questions of racial identity simmer beneath the tranquil surface of suburban life in this novel, set in a small New Jersey town of the early 1900s. Lovely young Laurentine is obsessed with her "bad blood," inherited from a common-law interracial union. Proud and independent, she longs for the respectability of a conventional marriage. Laurentine's vivacious and self-confident cousin, Melissa, also aspires to "marry up." But a family secret shadows Melissa's dreams and ambitions as she approaches an explosive revelation.African-American editor, poet, essayist, and novelist Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882–1961) was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. An editor of the NAACP magazine The Crisis, she was also an editor and co-author of the African-American children's magazine, The Brownies' Book. Her third novel, The Chinaberry Tree, draws upon elements of Greek tragedy in its powerful depiction of interracial love and...
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Comedy_American Style

Comedy_American Style

Jessie Redmon Fauset

Fiction / Classics / Cultural

This ironically titled tale by an influential figure in African-American literature explores the tragic effects of color prejudice and self-hatred. Jessie Redmon Fauset's 1933 novel paints a haunting portrait of internalized racism with its depiction of a domineering mother whose determination for her children to pass as white leads to devastating results for the entire family.African-American editor, poet, essayist, and novelist Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882–1961) was a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. An editor of the NAACP magazine The Crisis, she was also an editor and co-author of the African-American children's magazine, The Brownies' Book. Her fourth and final novel, Comedy: American Style, features vivid characterizations and enduring themes that continue to resonate with modern readers.
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