Jessie Redmon Fauset, Black American Writer

Jessie Redmon Fauset, Black American Writer

Jessie Redmon Fauset, Black American Writer

Jessie Redmon Fauset, Black American Writer

Synopsis

This book presents a clear and accurate portrayal of a black woman writer. Sylvander illustrates Fauset as a black woman who defied the traditional expectations of a society and who wrote with an awareness of racial and sexual themes.

Excerpt

Jessie Redmon Fauset, Black American novelist and journalist, has not been fairly or completely enough studied by critics and historians of Black literature. Erroneous or misleading information about her 19th century family origins and social class has frequently served as an inadequate basis for summarizing her work. In fact her early life was not easy or socially established, but in many ways struggling and full of hard work. Her high school and college records and her early involvement with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the first decades of the 20th century indicate her efforts and wide interests in social issues. Fauset also deserves more credit for the literary importance of The Crisis and the Brownies' Book during the Harlem Renaissance period, primarily 1919-1926, than she has generally been given.

In her own writing, particularly in her essays and novels, Fauset demonstrates an awareness of the world-wide implications of the Black struggle in the United States and an understanding of the unique situation of the American Black woman. Her discussions of racial and sexual matters are disguised in novels with romantic and entertaining plots. Nevertheless, her exposure of the Black woman's confrontation with race and sex stereotyping is quietly thorough. Contrary to the repeated critical claim that Fauset wrote to promote respectable middle class Black life, she in fact emphasizes individual morality which is at variance with society's codes. In works more exploratory than dogmatic, more searching than protesting, she presents alternatives in defining "Black American woman."

Jessie Fauset and her novels have been much maligned. She deserves an accurate presentation of the achievements of her life. She defied habits and expectations and norms for Black and white women alike by her college career, her subsequent professional . . .

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