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Transatlantic Women's Literature

Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson


Transatlantic Women's Literature is a valuable contribution to the evolving debate surrounding Transatlantic Studies and transatlantic literature. Its originality and importance lie in its focus on 20th-century women's narratives of travel and adventure, and its deliberate expansion of the Transatlantic concept beyond the familiar US–UK axis to include Canada, South America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. The crisscrossing of the Atlantic is contested and problematised throughout. The book explores culturally resonant literature that imagines ‘views from both sides’ and examines the imaginary, ‘in-between’ space of the Atlantic. It offers a considered exploration of the way in which the space of the Atlantic and women's space work together in the construction of meaning in transatlantic texts.

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Part One: The Exoticised Other
1. Constructing Race across the Atlantic: Nella Larsen’s Quicksand
2. Assimilation in the Heartland: Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine
Part Two: Memoirs and Transatlantic Travel
3. The Anti-Tourist: Jenny Diski’s Skating to Antarctica and Stranger on a Train: Daydreaming and Smoking Around America With Interruptions
4. ‘There is No World Outside the Text’: Transatlantic Slippage in Eve Hoffman’s Lost in Translation
Part Three: Negotiating the Foreign/ Re-Inventing Home
5. Revisiting the Family: Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist
6. Cross-Dressing and Transnational Space: Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune

About the Author

Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson is the President of The College at Brockport, State University of New York. She is the author of Courting Failure: Women and the Law in 20th-Century Literature (University of Akron Press, 2007), Women's Movement: Escape as Transgression in North American Feminist Fiction (Rodopi, 2000) and co-editor of Transatlantic Studies (UPA, 2000), New Perspectives in Transatlantic Studies (UPA, 2002) and Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics and History (a 3-volume encyclopedia) (ABC-Clio, 2005).


Macpherson opens her s tudy with an extremely useful survey of recent theories about travel and travel writing, and about womens' travel narratives in particular... Her individual readings usefully open up, through localized textual discussion, what it may mean to feel "foreign", and how women, in particular, may engage with this affect—which is, as she makes clear, not necessarily a disorienting experience in a negative sense.
- Kate Flint, Rutgers University, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature

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