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postgraduate thesis: The Harlem Renaissance and the story behind the fiction of Carl Van Vechten

TitleThe Harlem Renaissance and the story behind the fiction of Carl Van Vechten
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lau, S. [劉雪穎]. (2014). The Harlem Renaissance and the story behind the fiction of Carl Van Vechten. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5544007
AbstractThe Harlem Renaissance was the most celebrated African American cultural movement throughout the history of the United States owing to the massive and remarkable literature output by African American artists. Yet, attention to the white participants is limited. One of the most significant white patrons and writers, Carl Van Vechten and his fifth novel Nigger Heaven (1926) have cast noteworthy influences on African Americans, the American society and the Harlem Renaissance. To examine Van Vechten and his most important work and their connection with the Harlem Renaissance in greater details, this thesis focuses heavily on the novel as well as the paper collections of Van Vechten at New York Public Library. Thus, the research method of this thesis is an archival one. Despite little attention to this novel and its author, this thesis argues that they both serve as an unprecedented experience towards literature on African Americans and racial complexity in the United States during the 1920s. The first chapter focuses on the change from his initial fascination towards the “exoticism” and “primitivism” of African Americans to a genuine appreciation of the talents of African American artists of the Harlem controversial text regarding its title and the fact that the author was a white man yet decided to write a story on African Americans. This novel is significant in a sense that it inspires discussions on issues such as the phenomenon of “passing”, the “color line” and the masculinity of white patronage in Harlem in the 1920s. Additionally, it facilitates examination on the historical complexity of the word “nigger”. Chapter three focuses on the mixed critiques towards the novel. Although the author insists that this is a work of irony about the contemporary racial complexity, such irony did not seem to work for everyone. The ambivalent responses from African American audiences are intriguing for in‐depth analysis. Moreover, the initial covers of Nigger Heaven contain important implications and stories to be told. This thesis aims to indicate that Van Vechten and Nigger Heaven deserve more attention while such insufficiency offers room for further studies.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectHarlem Renaissance
Dept/ProgramModern Languages and Cultures
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/212623

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLau, Suet-wing-
dc.contributor.author劉雪穎-
dc.date.accessioned2015-07-23T23:10:51Z-
dc.date.available2015-07-23T23:10:51Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationLau, S. [劉雪穎]. (2014). The Harlem Renaissance and the story behind the fiction of Carl Van Vechten. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5544007-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/212623-
dc.description.abstractThe Harlem Renaissance was the most celebrated African American cultural movement throughout the history of the United States owing to the massive and remarkable literature output by African American artists. Yet, attention to the white participants is limited. One of the most significant white patrons and writers, Carl Van Vechten and his fifth novel Nigger Heaven (1926) have cast noteworthy influences on African Americans, the American society and the Harlem Renaissance. To examine Van Vechten and his most important work and their connection with the Harlem Renaissance in greater details, this thesis focuses heavily on the novel as well as the paper collections of Van Vechten at New York Public Library. Thus, the research method of this thesis is an archival one. Despite little attention to this novel and its author, this thesis argues that they both serve as an unprecedented experience towards literature on African Americans and racial complexity in the United States during the 1920s. The first chapter focuses on the change from his initial fascination towards the “exoticism” and “primitivism” of African Americans to a genuine appreciation of the talents of African American artists of the Harlem controversial text regarding its title and the fact that the author was a white man yet decided to write a story on African Americans. This novel is significant in a sense that it inspires discussions on issues such as the phenomenon of “passing”, the “color line” and the masculinity of white patronage in Harlem in the 1920s. Additionally, it facilitates examination on the historical complexity of the word “nigger”. Chapter three focuses on the mixed critiques towards the novel. Although the author insists that this is a work of irony about the contemporary racial complexity, such irony did not seem to work for everyone. The ambivalent responses from African American audiences are intriguing for in‐depth analysis. Moreover, the initial covers of Nigger Heaven contain important implications and stories to be told. This thesis aims to indicate that Van Vechten and Nigger Heaven deserve more attention while such insufficiency offers room for further studies.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshHarlem Renaissance-
dc.titleThe Harlem Renaissance and the story behind the fiction of Carl Van Vechten-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5544007-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineModern Languages and Cultures-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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