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JournalISSN: 1836-4845

Transnational Literature 

About: Transnational Literature is an academic journal. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Poetry & Literary criticism. It has an ISSN identifier of 1836-4845. It is also open access. Over the lifetime, 145 publication(s) have been published receiving 531 citation(s).
Topics: Poetry, Literary criticism, Memoir, Narrative, Poetics

Papers published on a yearly basis

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Journal Article
TL;DR: For over a quarter of a century, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's scholarship has remained at the forefront of postcolonial studies, pushing the discipline forward, asking the uncomfortable questions, and engaging in spirited debates as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, An Aesthetic of Education in the Era of Globalization (Harvard University Press, 2012)For over a quarter of a century, Gayatri Spivak's scholarship has remained at the forefront of postcolonial studies, pushing the discipline forward, asking the uncomfortable questions, and engaging in spirited debates. Spivak's 1988 essay, 'Can the Subaltern Speak?' launched her into academic prominence, and while the essay still is regarded as enormously influential, unfortunately, it often overshadows many of her other important works, which is why her recent book, An Aesthetic of Education in the Era of Globalization, published by Harvard University Press, is such a welcome reminder of her varied and important contributions. The 25 essays, spanning nearly an equal number of years, not only reveal Spivak's unwavering commitment to an ethical, aesthetic engagement with literature (and the world) as a way of fulfilling the humanities' promise to contest the logic of capital, but also they reveal her enormous capacity as a teacher.In the preface and introduction, Spivak informs readers that she writes now with a 'desperate honesty' and that doubt will be her guiding refrain (x). From the outset, it is clear that she is concerned deeply by 'this era of the mantra of hope' and deploys doubt, which she sees as a great inheritance of the Enlightenment, as a way to recuperate the aesthetic (1). This meditation on the aesthetic gives the collection a thematic thread for readers to grasp as they move through the essays. Additionally, running throughout the collection is the frame of the double bind. Spivak instructs readers to keep this structure in mind while engaging with the essays as it reveals the tensions that undergird many of her arguments. Ultimately Spivak's work attempts to displace globalisation's hold on information, data, and capital through a 'productive undoing' of the legacy of the aesthetic coupled with the structure of the double bind (1). At times this lofty project is undermined by a determined insistence to use the double bind framework even when the fit isn't comfortable, leading to several unnecessarily opaque moments. The introduction also is mired in a selected history of the double bind that contain large tracts of quoted text, with little exposition, that divert readers from Spivak's more urgent claims. To be fair, Spivak asks for 'an interactive reader' that is willing to take this journey with her in which the 'reconsiderations and realizations' of the introduction are not always expounded in the essays themselves (3).The book is not divided into sections, but there are narratives that reflect a progression of ideas. Spivak's essays transition fluidly from issues of difference to translation to disciplinary concerns. Throughout these movements, readers will observe Spivak's willingness to draw from intimate, often private moments to forward a thesis. It is this vulnerability that reveals the stakes of Spivak's work. The most striking moment of intimacy occurs in the final chapter, 'Tracing the Skin of Day,' Spivak takes readers on her journey to view Chittrovanu Mazumdar's Nightskin. We walk with Spivak through the museum, and it is here that Spivak brings her discussion of the aesthetic to a close, remarking how 'in the visual, the lesson of reading is the toughest' (507). Spivak offers a poststructural meditation on Mazumdar's artwork, suggesting that his work 'protects the trace away from the promise of the sign' leaving viewers 'with no guarantees' (502). …

159 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, a collection of essays about Indian diaspora literature is presented, focusing on the diasporic imaginary and the respective traumas of Indian expatriate writers.
Abstract: O.P. Dwivedi, Literature of the Indian Diaspora (PencraftInternational, 2011)Literature of the Indian Diaspora constitutes a major study of the literature and other cultural texts of the Indian diaspora. It is also an important contribution to diaspora theory in general. Applying a theoretical framework based on trauma, mourning/impossible mourning, spectres, identity, travel, translation, and recognition, this anthology uses the term 'migrant identity' to refer to any ethnic enclave in a nation-state that defines itself, consciously or unconsciously, as a group in displacement. The present anthology examines the works of key writers, many now based across the globe in Canada, Denmark, America and the UK - V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Balachandra Rajan, M.G. Vassanji, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gautam Malkani, Shiva Naipaul, Tabish Khair and Shauna Singh Baldwin, among them - to show how they exemplify both the diasporic imaginary and the respective traumas of Indian diasporas.Corelating the concept of diaspora - literally dispersal or the scattering of a people - with the historical and contemporary presence of people of Indian sub-continental origin in other areas of the world, this anthology uses this paradigm to analyse Indian expatriate writing. In Reworlding, O.P. Dwivedi has commissioned ten critical essays by as many scholars to examine major areas of the diaspora. Collectively, the essays demonstrate that the various literary traditions within the Indian diaspora share certain common resonances engendered by historical connections, spiritual affinities, and racial memories. Individually, they provide challenging insights into the particular experiences and writers. At the core of the diasporic writing is the haunting presence of India and the shared anguish of personal loss that generate the aesthetics of 'reworlding' underlying and unifying this body of literature. This collection will be of value to scholars and students of Indian writing in English, postcolonial writing in general, and the literature of exile and immigration.This collection of essays also retraces the postcolonial narratives of Indian diaspora etched by diasporic Indian writers. What mainly comes under its scrutiny is the complex experience of migrancy, encompassing both cultural hybridisation and assimilation on the one hand and lingering nostalgia and cultural alienation on the other. Its critique of the recent and not so recent diasporic texts, at once probing and insightful, foregrounds the deterritorialised, expatriate sensibility of their authors. Noticeably, the study contends that this sensibility blends seamlessly with various prominent features of this variety of diasporic writing, for instance, of individuation and self-definition in Rushdie, of conquest of rootlessness in Jhumpa Lahiri, of cultural inbetweenness in B. Rajan, and of the special charms of diasporic sensibility itself in Naipaul.This anthology, consisting of ten essays, encompasses an overarching view of the writing of the Indian diaspora. Of these, the first paper, by Silvia Albertazzi, titled 'Translation, Migration and Diaspora in Salman Rushdie's fiction', brilliantly argues how migrant narration becomes a fiction of individuation and self-definition, a kind of travel literature where departure is often forced, transit is endless and one very rarely reaches a point of arrival where present is lived by renaming the past. Migration always implies change: and change involves the risk of losing one's identity. Whilst the migrant does not recognize him/herself in his/her new image, the people around him/her do not accept his/her otherness. Therefore, s/he is compelled to face everyday life through a continuous oscillation between reality and dream. The migrant writer opposes imagination and the fantastic to western realistic mimesis. Albertazzi stresses, 'The migrant is compelled to experience the world through imagination' (34). The second paper, 'Reconfigured Identities: "Points of Departure" and Alienation of Arrival in Balachandra Rajan's The Dark Dancer', by Anna Clarke examines at length the postcolonial predicament of Rajan's protagonist, Krishnan, in the novel to 'belong' to his society and its cultural paradigms because of his long stay in the West. …

53 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus as mentioned in this paper is a novel about a man and a young boy arriving in Novillo, a city in a Spanish-speaking country, and are confronted with a blandly courteous but indifferent bureaucracy which at first fails to provide basic necessities.
Abstract: J.M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus (Text Publishing, 2013)I have always resisted reading Coetzee allegorically. I took to heart - possibly through wilful misunderstanding - his statement to David Attwell that 'a critical practice whose climactic gesture is always a triumphant tearing-off, as it grows lazy (and every orthodoxy grows lazy), begins to confine its attentions to clothed subjects, and even to subjects whose clothes are easily torn off'; and 'in the act of triumphantly tearing the clothes off its subject and displaying the nakedness beneath - ("Behold the truth!") it exposes a naivete of its own. For is the naked body really the truth?'1 Bolstered by Susan Sontag's essay 'Against Interpretation', I felt justified in resisting the search for meanings below the surface of Coetzee's novels, or indeed anyone else's.But what is to be done with a novel titled The Childhood of Jesus? It's not only tempting to read it as allegory: there seems to be no alternative. Not, of course, that it is simple to do so. The parallels with the New Testament, the novel's most obvious intertext, are far from simple. A man and a young boy arrive in Novillo, a city in a Spanish-speaking country, and are confronted with a blandly courteous but indifferent bureaucracy which at first fails to provide basic necessities. They have been on the road for a week, from a camp called Belstar. So at first, one is might think that this is an allegory of the appalling treatment meted out to refugees, always remembering that the child, as we must presume from the title, is a Christ figure.But after a few initial inconveniences the man, to whom the authorities have assigned the name Simon, and the boy, David, find adequate shelter and means of sustenance, and make friends among the other residents of the city, all of whom appear to have arrived by the same route. Everyone in Novilla is newly-made, and everyone has forgotten their old life, except Simon, who alone, it seems, is unsatisfied, who alone has an ironic cast of mind - the others 'see no doubleness in the world, any difference between the way things seem and the way things are' (80). His fellow workers, however, do indulge in a sterile kind of philosophising which 'just makes him impatient' (144).As I read, I tried out theories. Is Simon Joseph, the 'stepfather' of the Jesus figure? He is adamant that he is not a relative, and is only caring for the boy until he can find his mother. But when he finds the woman he intuits to be David's mother (not literally, but in some vague but more important sense), he seems to play the part of Gabriel at the Annunciation. …

15 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Farner's work as mentioned in this paper proposes a cognitive model for reading and interpreting literature, which breaks traditional elements of fiction, such as message, structure and voice, into a precised discussion of how we interpret these elements and their overall effects on the text, arguing that the interaction between reader and text plays an indispensable role in literary communication.
Abstract: Geir Farner, Literary Fiction: The Ways We Read Narrative Literature (Bloomsbury, 2014)Geir Farner's Literary Fiction: The Ways We Read Narrative Literature offers a cognitive model for reading and interpreting literature. This model breaks traditional elements of fiction, such as message, structure, and voice, into a precised discussion of how we interpret these elements and their overall effects on the text, arguing that the 'interaction between reader and text plays an indispensable role' in literary communication (42). The six-page table of contents makes the text easy to navigate, which may be ideal for literature teachers and students to focus on particular elements; however, the book develops these throughout, and some sections rely on Famer's discussions in previous sections for the nuances of his argument to be patent.Early in the book, Farner outlines a number of methodological frameworks that outline what makes fiction fiction - which sounds an easier task than it is. By addressing a range of theorists from Aristotle to Hayden White, and considering the incorporation of factual elements into fiction, he encapsulates a breadth of arguments in his discussion. He reaches the conclusion that the greatest difference between fiction and non-fiction is in the intention of the author - or 'sender', in Farner's terms - to be loyal to the truth, and that 'fictional texts do not purport to render facts in a comparable way, because the only link between fiction and reality is indirect and consists in likeness' (23). He draws on structuralist and formalist literary theory regarding modes of reading, and critiques some of the dominant theories of genre for their limitations when extended to fiction.He asserts that all the information we are given about a text is that which is in the text itself, and '[bjecause the text comes into existence simultaneously with narration, it is part of the narrative act and at the same time a result of it, as the only testimony of the finished narrative process' (33). Thus, the interplay between the discourse of the text and the reader is the 'only testimony of the finished narrative process' (33). The information that has been imparted to us has been filtered by the author, and therefore the way in which we interpret the actions in fictional texts is necessarily biased by the author (42). Farner critiques theories that fictional truth is 'only a question of linguistic perception based on rhetoric' (43).Farner's cognitive model necessitates an acceptance of the subjectivity of the 'mental' processes and imagination of the reader in their interpretation as distinct from the 'real world', to which a non-fiction text would refer (37-38). His understanding of literature of mimetic necessitates that '[t]he fictional world is constructed according to the same pattern as the real world and resembles it. On account of this likeness, the fictional events shed useful light on the general structure in the real world' (40). The primary function of literary communication, for Farner, is 'giving insight into the problems of the real world and their possible solutions' (286) and he asserts that '[t]he reason fictional characters and events evoke such strong emotions is that we regard them as representative of our own real world' (289). …

13 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the authors focus on a sequence of poems in his 1961 Pamiętnik poetycki (Poetic Memoir) called "Tamta Ziemia" (That Other Land), about the cities and towns of Chciuk's childhood: Lwów, Borysław and his hometown of Drohobycz.
Abstract: This article looks at some poems by Polish Australian writer Andrzej Chciuk (1920-1978). Chciuk migrated to Australia from France in 1951, having escaped Nazi-occupied Poland as a twenty-year-old in 1940. In Australia he worked as a schoolteacher in Melbourne while continuing to write poetry and fiction in Polish. His work was published in prestigious Polish emigré outlets like the Paris-based journal Kultura and in Australia with sponsorship from the Polish migrant community; to date no English translations of it have appeared. My article focuses on a sequence of poems in his 1961 Pamiętnik poetycki (Poetic Memoir) called ‘Tamta Ziemia’ (That Other Land), about the cities and towns of Chciuk’s childhood: Lwów, Borysław and his hometown of Drohobycz. When the author was growing up these towns were in eastern Poland; by the time of his writing, in the 1950s, however, they had become part of Soviet Ukraine, and were thus doubly removed from his life in Australia. He wrote as a displaced person whose childhood home had itself been displaced. Hence the powerful note of longing that pervades his ‘poetic memoir’. Through a reading of some passages in my English translation, I hope to convey something of Chciuk’s lively poetic voice, and to show that he deserves admission to discussions of twentieth-century transnational Australian literature.

11 citations

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