A rediscovered classic about how racism and sexism tests the spirit, ambition, and character of three children growing up in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem, from the literary editor of The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP
Set in early twentieth-century New York City, There Is Confusion tells the story of Joanna Marshall, a talented dancer willing to sacrifice everything for success; Maggie Ellersley, an extraordinarily beautiful girl determined to leave her working-class background behind; and Peter Bye, a clever would-be surgeon who is driven by his love for Joanna.
As children, Maggie, Joanna, and Peter support each other’s dreams. But when romance threatens to change the balance of their friendship, Joanna makes two irrevocable decisions—and sets off a chain of events that wreaks havoc with all of their lives.
First published to immense critical acclaim in 1924, written with an Austen-like eye for social dynamics and insight into the lives of black women that is reminiscent of Nella Larsen, There Is Confusion is an unjustly forgotten classic about color consciousness, the rise of the black middle class, and the struggle for equality.
The Modern Library Torchbearers series features women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance: AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES • THE AWAKENING • THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY • THE HEADS OF CERBERUS • LADY AUDLEY’S SECRET • LOVE, ANGER, MADNESS • PASSING • THE TRANSFORMATION OF PHILIP JETTAN • VILLETTE
About the Author
Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882–1961)was the daughter of an African Methodist Episcopal minister. She attended Cornell University, where she studied Latin, Greek, German, and French, and became one of the first black women elected to Phi Beta Kappa. According to some sources she studied at the Sorbonne before earning her M.A. in French from the University of Pennsylvania. Fauset began contributing to The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP in 1912. By 1919, she was its literary editor, becoming the first person to publish Langston Hughes’s poetry as well as shaping the careers of Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, and Claude McKay.