Fractured, Travelling, Transformed Narratives

Boldrini, Lucia and Sweeney, Carole, eds. 2013. Fractured, Travelling, Transformed Narratives, Comparative Critical Studies, 10(3-supp). 1744-1854 [Edited Journal]

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Abstract or Description

The essays here are drawn from a two-day conference, held at Goldsmiths, University of London, in September 2011, entitled ‘Fractured, Transformed, Travelling Narratives in Writing, Performance and the Arts’ and jointly sponsored by the BCLA, the AILC-ICLA, and Goldsmiths’ Department of English and Comparative Literature, Drama Department, and The Pinter Centre. The symposium formed part of a wider AHRC-funded research project, based in the Pinter centre, called ‘Beyond the Linear Narrative’, which focussed on the postcolonial and diasporic contexts of non-linearity and fracturing in writing, performance and art. The collaboration of the BCLA and the ICLA with this venture lent a specifically, and productively, comparative approach to these themes, resulting in a wide diversity of papers touching upon modernism and war; the rewriting of classical myths and texts; autobiography; transformative relations between literary narratives and the visual arts. Crossing the globe from Libya to India, Israel and Palestine, Germany to Poland, and Chechnya and Imperial Russia, to a corrective instruction in Oregon, many of the essays collected here address the varied and uneven effects of imperialism, colonialism, censorship, genocide, imprisonment, (mis)translation and exile on literary narratives and, in different ways, pose the question, what happens when fracturing or travelling or transformation is an imposition rather than a choice? What kinds of transformations come about by putting texts and cultures into dialogue with one another? Across these essays, then, travel is understood in its most expansive mode as the writers explore the diverse aspects of what travel means across cultures and languages in ways that allow for an exploration of its literal and metaphorical dimensions and meanings. The essays also do another type of travelling, one that involves shuttling back and forth between the modes of close and distant reading that Franco Moretti invokes in his conceptualisation of world literature. Diverse in their understanding of fracture, travelling and transformation, some writers take these ideas in a more textual and aesthetic sense, exploring their subject more hermeneutically from the ‘smaller’ spaces of the literary text with its micro twists and turns in a self-consciousness and metareferentiality that demonstrates another kind of fracturing and disruption. Others speak to a broader, even material, consideration of the real and pressing effects of political and social upheaval and transformation, and examine what has been lost by the fragmentation and, in some cases erasure, of particular cultural artefacts and traditions.

Item Type:

Edited Journal

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


October 2013

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Date Deposited:

10 Feb 2022 09:41

Last Modified:

10 Feb 2022 09:41


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