A Fragile Optimism: Writing Liminality and Hybridity in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

  • Leslie Allison


Leslie Allison’s introduction to Part III charts a brief history of American women writers’ thematic engagement with liminality and hybridity in literary works from the early twentieth century to 2013. Placing the section’s essays in conversation with writers such as Kate Chopin and Nella Larsen, Allison demonstrates that hybridity and liminality have been defining concepts of twentieth- and twenty-first-century women’s writing. Writing both about and from places of hybridity and liminality, twentieth- and twenty-first- century women writers engage with questions of identity, globalization, immigration, and state surveillance in their works. In turn, without dismissing literature’s limitations, contemporary American women writers offer a vision of literature as a tool for social transformation.

Works Cited

  1. “AT&T 1993 ‘You Will.’” YouTube, 3 December 2006, Accessed October 31, 2016.
  2. Bhabha, Homi. Location of Culture. Routledge, 1993.Google Scholar
  3. Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Herbert S. Stone and Co., 1899. University of Virginia Library Electronic Resource Center. Accessed June 6, 2017.Google Scholar
  4. Davis, Thadious. Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Region, and Literature. University of North Carolina Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  5. Larsen, Nella. Passing: Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. Edited by Carla Kaplan. W.W. Norton & Co., 2007.Google Scholar
  6. Moran, Patricia. “Shame, Subjectivity, and Self-Expression in Cora Sandel and Jean Rhys.” Modernism/Modernity, Vol. 22, no. 4, 2015, pp. 713–734. Project Muse, doi: Accessed July 21, 2017.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie Allison
    • 1
  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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