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This is the rollicking, never-before-published memoir of a fascinating woman with an uncanny knack for being in the right place in the most interesting times. Of racially mixed heritage, Anita Reynolds was proudly African American but often passed for Indian, Mexican, or Creole. Actress, dancer, model, literary critic, psychologist, but above all free-spirited provocateur, she was, as her Parisian friends nicknamed her, an "American cocktail. " One of the first black stars of the silent era, she appeared in Hollywood movies with Rudolph Valentino, attended Charlie Chaplin's anarchist meetings, and studied dance with Ruth St. Denis. She moved to New York in the 1920s and made a splash with both Harlem Renaissance elites and Greenwich Village bohemians. An emigre in Paris, she fell in with the Left Bank avant garde, " befriending Antonin Artaud, Man Ray, and Pablo Picasso. Next, she took up residence as a journalist in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and witnessed firsthand the growing menace of fascism. In 1940, as the Nazi panzers closed in on Paris, Reynolds spent the final days before the French capitulation as a Red Cross nurse, afterward making a mad dash for Lisbon to escape on the last ship departing Europe. In prose that perfectly captures the globetrotting nonchalance of its author, American Cocktail" presents a stimulating, unforgettable self-portrait of a truly extraordinary woman.
The Harlem Renaissance (1918-1937) was the most influential single movement in African American literary history. Its key figures include W. E. B. Du Bois, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, and Langston Hughes. The movement laid the groundwork for all later African American literature, and had an enormous impact on later black literature world-wide. With chapters by a wide range of well-known scholars, this 2007 Companion is an authoritative and engaging guide to the movement. It first discusses the historical contexts of the Harlem Renaissance, both national and international; then presents original discussions of a wide array of authors and texts; and finally treats the reputation of the movement in later years. Giving full play to the disagreements and differences that energized the renaissance, this Companion presents a set of new readings encouraging further exploration of this dynamic field.
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