Dialectics of Exile
Nation, Time, Language, and Space in Hispanic Literatures
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Purdue University Press
Series: Comparative Cultural Studies
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Two early events helped to shape the direction of this book and led me to study exile literature as a challenge to contemporary theories about cultural identity. The first experience took place while I was a graduate student at Duke. Jean Baudrillard came to lecture and he spoke about the Bosnian war. He lectured to a packed auditorium full of faculty and students, fascinated, yet bewildered, by his statements about the end of ...
A Note on Citations and Translations
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At the first mention of each literary work, I give the Spanish title, followed by the title in English, in italics (or quotation marks) if a translation is available, in roman type (without quotation marks) if it is not. Subsequent references to the text only use the Spanish title of the work, except in the case of Ariel Dorfman’s The Last Song of Manuel Sendero, ...
CHAPTER ONE: Introduction
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My research on exile began in the late 1990s and coincided with an increased scholarly interest in the exile as a metaphor for a new phase of social alienation. We heard of the theorist as exile, of inner exile, cultural migrancy, nomadism, dislocation, etc. The exile floated through texts by Gilles Deleuze and F
CHAPTER TWO: The Dialectics of Exile: Towards a Theory of Exile Writing
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The history of the dialectic and dialectical thinking is as long as the history of exile. We find early examples of dialectics in the ancient philosophy of the Greeks, especially in the work of Aristotle and Heraclitus, who taught, “everything is in flux,” and the Chinese, whose conceptions of yin and yang describe life as interpenetrating dualisms (“Definitions of Dialectics”). ...
CHAPTER THREE: Alien Nation
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Graham Baker’s film Alien Nation leaves the viewer with a central dilemma: why is the movie a horror film? In fact, given the absurd characterization of the “newcomers,” the film leans toward humor. Apart from the final scenes, the film is not scary. Or is it? Perhaps the fear is of the alien nation: the film suggests that many of the pivotal issues relating to exile, nationalism, and cultural identity are inseparable from mass cultural fear. ...
CHAPTER FOUR: Exile’s Time
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Given that exile often forces travel to new lands that speak foreign languages, many scholars have focused on the problems of spatial displacement and linguistic estrangement in the cultural production of exiles. Amy Kaminsky, in Reading the Body Politic, draws the connection between spatial displacement and a crisis of language for the exiled writer: “Exile is dislocation, both physical and psychic. The exile is a stranger, not seen, misperceived. ...
CHAPTER FIVE: To Be Is Not to Be: Exile and the Crisis of Linguistic Representation
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Spanish expresses “to be” with two distinct verbs: “ser” and “estar.” The dichotomy that the exile faces of, for instance, being Chilean—ser chileno (to be Chilean)—and not being in Chile—no estar en Chile (to not be in Chile)—seems to be exacerbated by these two verbal forms: soy de donde no estoy (I am from where I am not). Or as the Cuban exile Octavio Armand has put it, “ser es dejar de estar” (“to be [someone] is not to be [somewhere]”). ...
CHAPTER SIX: Lost in Space: The Geography of Exile
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A frequent theme in science fiction is that of the lost community unable to return to its original home. The spaceship-wrecked, although they are dreaming of return, must learn to create an alternative “home.” For instance, the television series Lost in Space revolved around the travails of a family on a space mission that, due to faulty technology, was unable to return home. The extraterrestrial home that the Robinson family created seemed to function fairly well; and this appeased concerns over the integrity of the traditional ...
CHAPTER SEVEN: Culture Shock
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Goytisolo’s, Dorfman’s, and Peri Rossi’s dialectical descriptions of nation, time, language, and space lead them to create complex theories of cultural identity. Their intricate relationship to many of the terms commonly applied to questions of cultural identity allows for insight into some of the most pressing issues concerning cultural politics. Much cultural theory rests on a series of binary oppositions ...
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Page Count: 252
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: Comparative Cultural Studies