A Death in Harlem, A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-10-07 00:44Z by Steven

A Death in Harlem, A Novel

TriQuarterly Books (an imprint of Northwestern University Press)
248 pages
Trim size 6 x 9
Trade Paper ISBN: 978-0-8101-4081-3
E-Book ISBN: 978-0-8101-4082-0

Karla FC Holloway, James. B. Duke Professor Emerita of English and Law
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

In A Death in Harlem, famed scholar Karla FC Holloway weaves a mystery in the bon vivant world of the Harlem Renaissance. Taking as her point of departure the tantalizingly ambiguous “death by misadventure” at the climax of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Holloway accompanies readers to the sunlit boulevards and shaded sidestreets of Jazz Age New York. A murder there will test the mettle, resourcefulness, and intuition of Harlem’s first “colored” policeman, Weldon Haynie Thomas.

Clear glass towers rising in Manhattan belie a city where people are often not what they seem. For some here, identity is a performance of passing—passing for another race, for another class, for someone safe to trust. Thomas’s investigation illuminates the societies and secret societies, the intricate code of manners, the world of letters, and the broad social currents of 1920s Harlem.

A Death in Harlem is an exquisitely crafted, briskly paced, and impeccably stylish journey back to a time still remembered as a peak of American glamour. It introduces Holloway as a fresh voice in storytelling, and Weldon Haynie Thomas as an endearing and unforgettable detective.

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Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing Literature

Posted in Books, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2013-12-17 22:41Z by Steven

Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing Literature

Duke University Press
January 2014
176 pages
3 photographs
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5595-3
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5581-6

Karla FC Holloway, James B. Duke Professor of English; Professor of Law; Professor of Women’s Studies
Duke University

In Legal Fictions, Karla FC Holloway both argues that U.S. racial identity is the creation of U.S. law and demonstrates how black authors of literary fiction have engaged with the law’s constructions of race since the era of slavery. Exploring the resonance between U.S. literature and U.S. jurisprudence, Holloway reveals Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage as stories about personhood and property, David Bradley’s The Chaneysville Incident and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man as structured by evidence law, and Nella Larsen’s Passing as intimately related to contract law. Holloway engages the intentional, contradictory, and capricious constructions of race embedded in the law with the same energy that she brings to her masterful interpretations of fiction by U.S. writers. Her readings shed new light on the many ways that black U.S. authors have reframed fundamental questions about racial identity, personhood, and the law from the nineteenth into the twenty-first centuries. Legal Fictions is a bold declaration that the black body is thoroughly bound by law and an unflinching look at the implications of that claim.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction: Bound by Law
    • Intimate Intersectionalities—Scalar Reflections
    • Public Fictions, Private Facts
    • Simile as Precedent
    • Property, Contract, and Evidentiary Values
  • 1. The Claims of Property: On Being and Belonging
    • The Capital in Question
    • Imagined Liberalism
    • Mapping Racial Reason
    • Being in Place: Landscape, Never Inscape
  • 2. Bodies as Evidence (of Things Not Seen)
    • Secondhand Tales and Hearsay
    • Black Legibility—Can I Get a Witness?
    • Trying to Read Me
  • 3. Composing Contract
    • “A novel-like tenor”
    • Passing and Protection
    • A Secluded Colored Neighborhood
  • Epilogue. When and Where “All the Dark-Glass Boys” Enter
  • A Contagion of Madness
  • Notes
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
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