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Unnatural Selections: Eugenics in American Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance
Challenging conventional constructions of the Harlem Renaissance and American modernism, Daylanne English links writers from both movements to debates about eugenics in the Progressive Era. She argues that, in the 1920s, the form and content of writings by figures as disparate as W. E. B. Du Bois, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, and Nella Larsen were shaped by anxieties ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2004 by University of North Carolina Press
(first published 2004)
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English makes compelling arguments for the prevalence of eugenic ideas in American discourse within the early 20th century, both as a basis for distinguishing between human races and as a motivation for intra-racial "betterment" in both black and white communities. This book introduced me to the writings and ideology of 'cultural leaders' including Gloria Stein, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound, but I often felt that the author assumed too much prior knowledge on the part of the reader in making her ...more