Nella Larsen

American novelist, librarian, nurse

Nella Larsen (April 13, 1891–March 30, 1964) was a nurse, librarian and novelist during the Harlem Renaissance.

Nella Larsen 1928



Quotes from Nella Larsen

  • …in talking it over with Negroes, I find that the tale is so old and so well known that it is almost folklore. It has many variations: sometimes it is the woman’s brother, husband, son, lover, preacher, beloved master, or even her father, mother, sister, or daughter who is killed. A Negro sociologist tells me that there are literally hundred of these stories. Anyone could have written it up at any time.
    • On the similarity of her story “The Sanctuary” to another writer’s work (as quoted in “Passing Through” in Lapham’s Quarterly; 2015 Apr 3)

Quotes about Nella Larsen

  • Manners were something that people who don’t have, but admire, resent not having.
    • On how Thadious Davis characterized Larsen’s politeness as potentially being misinterpreted for standoffishness (as quoted in “Passing Through” in Lapham’s Quarterly; 2015 Apr 3)
  • a ‘modern’ woman who smokes, wears her dresses short, does not believe in religions, churches and the like, and feels that people of the artistic type have a definite chance to help solve the race problem.
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