Jessie Redmon Fauset Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In addition to her four novels, Jessie Redmon Fauset wrote short stories, poems, nonfictional pieces, and works for children. She also translated the works of some Haitian writers.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Jessie Redmon Fauset was one of the most prolific novelists of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s, when her works were highly praised for introducing the reading public to a class of African Americans unknown to whites. Perhaps more important than her own works was her publishing and nurturing of other Harlem Renaissance writers as literary editor of The Crisis, the journal of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), from 1919 to 1926. In that capacity, she published works by Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Nella Larsen, Jean Toomer, and Countée Cullen. In 1920, Fauset also became the managing editor of the short-lived The Brownies’ Book, writer W. E. B. Du Bois’s magazine for children. Her first novel, There Is Confusion, was nominated for the Harmon Award in Literature in 1928.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Feeney, Joseph J. “A Sardonic, Unconventional Jessie Fauset: The Double Structure and Double Vision of Her Novels.” CLA Journal 22 (1979). Offers an evaluation of Fauset’s career.

Johnson, Abby Arthur. “Literary Midwife: Jessie Redmon Fauset and the Harlem Renaissance.” Phylon 39 (1978). A critical study.

McDowell, Deborah. “Jessie Fauset.” In Modern American Women Writers, edited by Lea Baechler and A. Walton Litz. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1991. A general discussion of Fauset’s role in the Harlem Renaissance as editor and writer, the chapter provides an analysis of Fauset’s four novels to illustrate their “thematic and ironic complexity.”

McLendon, Jacquelyn Y. The Politics of Color in the Fiction of Jessie Fauset and Nella Larsen. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1995. A study of the theme of the “tragic mulatto” in the novels of these two writers.

Sato, Hiroko. “Under the Harlem Shadow: A Study of Jessie Fauset and Nella Larsen.” In The Harlem Renaissance Remembered, edited by Arna Bontemps. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1972. While asserting that Fauset “is not a first rate writer,” Sato argues that race is the central concern of the novels’ middle-class characters.

Sylvander, Carolyn. Jessie Redmon Fauset: Black American Writer. Troy, N.Y.: Whitston, 1981. In this definitive critical biography on Fauset, Sylvander argues that reading Fauset’s novels as compared to her life is too simplistic.

Wall, Cheryl. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. Wall provides an excellent discussion of all of Fauset’s works yet believes Fauset achieved distinction as a journalist and essayist.