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Carl Van Vechten

Van Vechten, Carl (văn vĕkˈtən) [key], 1880–1964, American music critic, novelist, and photographer, b. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, grad. Univ. of Chicago, 1903. While he was a leading music critic in New York City, he wrote The Music of Spain (1918) and other critical works. At 40 he began writing novels, the best known of which, written in the sophisticated style of the 1920s, are Peter Whiffle (1922), The Tattooed Countess (1924), Nigger Heaven (1926), and Spider Boy (1928). After completing his autobiographical Sacred and Profane Memories (1932), he turned to photography and distinguished himself in that field. Van Vechten was well known for his interest in African-American culture and his efforts to promote better interracial relations.

See E. Bernard, ed., Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten (2001); E. Bernard, Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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