The Long and Short: Nella Larsen’s ‘Passing’ and Langston Hughes’s ‘Montage of a Dream Deferred’

Mark Ford and Seamus Perry

In the tenth episode of the Long and Short, Seamus and Mark turn to two figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nella Larsen’s ‘Passing’ is a taut, tense and tartly stylish take on the Jamesian short story, redolent with ironies and ambiguities, and feels just as relevant today. Widely considered his masterwork, Langston Hughes’s ‘Montage of a Dream Deferred’ draws on the modernist tradition, a documentarian sensibility and the fragmentation of bebop to capture the multiplicity of Harlem voices.

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