At home in words: Exile, writing and twentieth century literature.
AdvisorSchneidau, Herbert N.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe twentieth century is a time when the discourse of exile is prevalent in culture and literature as well as in political life. This study explores the nature of exile, its relation to Western culture, politics, and writing through the use of critical theory and specific literary works. The extended introductory chapter examines how stories of exile function as formative concepts in the Hebrew Bible. Foremost is the story of the flight from Egypt and the wandering in the wilderness as told in the Book of Exodus, but examples of separation as a type of exile are also examined, specifically in the laws in Exodus and Leviticus. The idea of exile as a paradox in Western culture and literature is developed in this chapter. While exile was already known as a punishment, the Hebrew Bible portrays exile as a positive idea that enables the formation of religious and cultural identity. An examination of exile as a sociopolitical concept also comprises this chapter. The relation of Karl Marx's definition of alienation (entfremdung) to exile is explored, and exile in its negative aspect, as punishment and estrangement from family and self, is discussed. As a counterweight to this negative aspect, the theories of Michel Foucault on power and knowledge are studied, and exile is proposed as a resistance to power. Finally, the relation of exile to discourses on writing and literature in the twentieth century is examined, specifically in the work of Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes. The remaining three chapters of the work are devoted to three culturally diverse twentieth century authors. Chapter Two examines the work of Egyptian-born Jewish poet Edmond Jabes, whose poetry and meditations are interwoven with thoughts on Judaism, exile, and writing. Chapter Three takes up the work of Cristina Peri Rossi, an Uruguayan fiction writer and poet, who fled to Spain in 1973. Peri Rossi's work not only creates interesting fictional homes wherein characters and readers alike can dwell, but is also concerned with the issue of feminism and womens' particular relation to exile. Finally, the work of Modernist author Gertrude Stein is explored, raising and examining questions of exile in her work.
Degree ProgramComparative Literature and Literary Theory