Carla Kaplan


Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance
  • HarperCollins
  • September 2013
  • ISBN: 0060882387
  • 505 pages, including photos
  • Buy online

Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance

The 1920s in New York City was a time of freedom, experimentation, and passion—with Harlem at the epicenter. White men could go uptown to see jazz and modern dance, but women who embraced black culture too enthusiastically could be ostracized.

Miss Anne in Harlem focuses on six of the unconventional, free-thinking women, some from Manhattan high society, many Jewish, who crossed race lines and defied social conventions to become a part of the culture and heartbeat of Harlem.

"An empathetic and skillful writer, Kaplan ... shares the previously untold story of a group of notable white women who embraced black culture—and life—in Harlem in the 1920s and '30s. ... Captivating."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters
  • Anchor Books
  • December 2003
  • ISBN: 0385490368
  • 912 pages
  • Buy online

Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters

Arriving in Harlem in 1925 with little more than a dollar to her name, Hurston rose to become one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance, only to die in obscurity. Not until the 1970s was she rediscovered by Alice Walker and other admirers. Although Hurston has entered the pantheon as one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century, the true nature of her personality has proven elusive.

Now, a brilliant, complicated and utterly arresting woman emerges as Carla Kaplan provides hundreds of revealing, previously unpublished letters for this definitive collection; she also provides extensive and illuminating commentary on Hurston's life and work, as well as an annotated glossary of the organizations and personalities that were important to it.

"A wonderful addition to what we need to understand about a spirited, extraordinary life."

Alice Walker

The Erotics of Talk: Women's Writing and Feminist Paradigms
  • Oxford University Press
  • December 1996
  • ISBN: 019509915X
  • 256 pages
  • Buy online

The Erotics of Talk: Women's Writing and Feminist Paradigms

Is feminism in "crisis"? With many feminists now questioning identification and focusing on differences between women, what is the fate of feminist criticism's traditional imperative to rescue women's stories and make their voices heard?

In this provocative rereading of the classic texts of the feminist literary canon, Carla Kaplan takes a hard look at the legacy of feminist criticism and argues that important features of feminism's own canon have been overlooked in the rush to rescue and identify texts. African-American women's texts, she demonstrates, often dramatize their distrust of their readers, their lack of faith in "the cultural conversation," through strategies of self-silencing and "self-talk." At the same time, she argues, the homoerotics of women's writing has too often gone unremarked. Not only does longing for an ideal listener draw women's texts into a romance with the reader, but there is an erotic excess which is part of feminist critical recuperation itself.

"The Erotics of Talk is a deft and courageous book which stares in the face some of the critical impasses of current feminist theory. It is a book which offers to feminism real grounds for hope and real chances for movement."

Helena Michie, Rice University

Edited works


  • Nella Larsen, author
  • W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.
  • 2007
  • Buy online

Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-tales from the Gulf States

  • Zora Neale Hurston, author
  • Harper Perennial
  • 2002
  • Buy online

Dark Symphony and Other Works (African-American Women Writers, 1910-1940)

  • Elizabeth Laura Adams, author
  • G. K. Hall
  • 1996
  • Buy online

Selected features

  • "What the 1920s Tell Us About Dolezal and Racial Illogic"
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Jun 19, 2015
  • Read online
  • "We've created excuses for racial violence."
  • The Boston Globe "Letters to the Editor"
  • Jul 16, 2013
  • Read online (PDF)
  • "The Lives of Others: Lois Gordon's new biography of Nancy Cunard brings the legendary heiress and activist back to life."
  • The Nation
  • Aug 13, 2007
  • Read online at