Abstract

This interdisciplinary study incorporates a literary reading of Nella Larsen's Quicksand (1928) with a cultural history of Baker's cinematic celebrity in order to reconsider celebratory narratives of the St. Louis native's success in Paris. Did she transcend stereotypes of black womanhood or was she enmeshed in their discursive net? Analyzing Baker's dancing and film roles through Larsen's conception of exoticism, migration, bodily representation and cultural hybridity reveals the complications assembled in this dancer's seemingly transparent stardom and recasts her as an informed Black modernist.

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