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Eric WalrondA Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean$
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James Davis

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157841

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157841.001.0001

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The Caribbean and France (1928–1931)

The Caribbean and France (1928–1931)

(p.223) 7 The Caribbean and France (1928–1931)
Eric Walrond

James Davis

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses Walrond's departure from Harlem—a period in his life that would be considered, for the most part, unproductive. Yet he does not seem to have had misgivings, nor did he express regret later. Leaving the United States enabled him a distinctive new sensibility, a critical cosmopolitanism. Exile from the black community was a paradoxical strategy for someone whose “work and raison d'être are to depict my race.” The careers of other black writers caution against passing judgment, but in Walrond's case the strategy proved harmful—as his time in France sent him spiraling into loneliness and depression, a state no doubt mirrored by the onset of the Great Depression that would cancel the publication of the work he'd exiled himself for in the first place—The Big Ditch.

Keywords:   The Big Ditch, Harlem, France, exile, black community, Great Depression

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