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Faulkner and FormalismReturns of the Text$
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Annette Trefzer and Ann J. Abadie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617032561

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617032561.001.0001

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Intertextual Geographies of Migration and Biracial Identity

Intertextual Geographies of Migration and Biracial Identity

Light in August and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand

(p.144) Intertextual Geographies of Migration and Biracial Identity
Faulkner and Formalism

Martyn Bone

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the notion of context by comparing William Faulkner’s novel Light in August (1932) with Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928), and argues that the two authors have more in common than one might assume. More specifically, it considers how reading Faulkner alongside Larsen may help to resituate the former’s “Southern” writing about race in wider national and transnational contexts. The chapter also discusses a notion of intertextuality that leans on Roland Barthes’ reading of every text as “a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture.” It suggests that both novels interrogate racial ideology in America, particularly the “one drop rule” that originated in the South, and furthermore, looks at the characters’ adoption of an understanding of racial identity that defines them as “black.”

Keywords:   race, William Faulkner, Light in August, Nella Larsen, Quicksand, intertextuality, Roland Barthes, racial ideology, one drop rule, racial identity

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