Sunday, February 20, 2022

Idlewild in Nella Larsen's "Passing"

In Nella Larsen's 1929 novel "Passing", Irene Redfield, on a visit to her hometown of Chicago, runs into her childhood friend Clare after a dozen years. Clare insists they should meet again before Irene leaves, but Irene at first demurs: she has little free time in the rest of her stay in Chicago, in part because she is "going away for the weekend, Idlewild, you know." Here, Idlewild is not the earlier name of JFK Airport (as in James Baldwin's 1962 novel "Another Country", but a town in Michigan, about 260 miles from Chicago; for about fifty years from the 1910s to the 1960s, it was a resort for Black Americans. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 20 February 2022)

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