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Transatlantic Women's Literature$
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Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748624454

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624454.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 07 December 2021

Constructing Race Across The Atlantic: Nella Larsen's Quicksand

Constructing Race Across The Atlantic: Nella Larsen's Quicksand

(p.42) Chapter 1 Constructing Race Across The Atlantic: Nella Larsen's Quicksand
Transatlantic Women's Literature

Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses Nella Larsen's Quicksand, an early twentieth-century novella that offers a contested reading of racial otherness and transatlantic exoticism. It explains that the novella's narrative encourages a bleeding between spaces and identities as it describes the peripatetic life of the character of Helga Crane, who believes that she was born out of wedlock, and this early uncertainty over identity markers is repeated in a variety of ways throughout the plot. The chapter suggests that the five middle chapters of Quicksand provide a central focal point for exploring the problematics of location within the Atlantic world and discusses Helga's decision to abandon her dream of shuttling across the transatlantic space in order to mire herself in that which she has always avoided: maternity and poverty.

Keywords:   Nella Larsen, Quicksand, novella, racial otherness, transatlantic exoticism, Helga Crane, identity markers, Atlantic world, transatlantic space, maternity

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