Sudanese author Tayeb Salih unravels traditional assumptions regarding setting, geography and location in his 1966 novel, Seasons of Migration to the North. Salih's vision of the North/West (as represented by the London metropole) vis-à-vis the South/East of the Sudan interrogates post-colonial assumptions regarding culture and nationhood. This essay argues that Salih's referents to geographic place should be read spatially; as the novel itself comprises a tapestry of multiple registers of form, chronology and history, so too should the reader re-examine Salih's use of geographic imagery and tropes. Salih's geographic tropes encompass depictions of the varying landscape, in the context of "home" and (specifically) the intimate spaces of private rooms and meeting places; these tropes parallel Salih's directional tropes which contextualize migration and exile. In short, Salih uncovers a cartography in which direction is experiential, evident more so in space than in linear constructions of place or time, and embedded in collective memory.


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pp. 190-203
Launched on MUSE
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