First published in 1929, Nella Larsen’s Passing is a classic novel of the Harlem Renaissance. Named for the practice of racial passing, or escaping discrimination by claiming to be white, Larsen’s second novel explores the intricacies of identity in race-obsessed twentieth-century America. The first African American woman to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, Larsen was lauded in her time, and interest in her work is experiencing a resurgence. In 2021, Netflix released a film version of Passing directed by Rebecca Hall and starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.
Read our full plot summary of Passing or chapter-by-chapter breakdowns.
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