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Expatriate Writing: Post-trauma, Postmemory and the Postcolonial

Dilly, Melanie Simone (2017) Expatriate Writing: Post-trauma, Postmemory and the Postcolonial. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (KAR id:60507)

Language: English

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This thesis describes the relationship between post-Second World War discourses and postcolonialism as observed in a selection of works by expatriate 'postmemory' authors after the Second World War and the Indian Partition. With global consequences which are still felt today, the Holocaust can no longer be understood as a singled-out event. Through their various works, Anita Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, and W.G. Sebald offer a range of comparable strategies for further personal engagement with the past - not just in Europe or in South Asia, but in both places together.

The thesis shows that the expatriate writer - defined by his or her temporal and spatial distance from the subject matter - can be understood not only as someone who mediates between there and here, but also between past and present. Thinking of the expatriate writer as someone between two worlds is technically reminiscent of the traumatised person who is unable to negotiate between the two worlds of victims and outsiders. The expatriate writer can make use of rupture, distance, and partial identity, and is therefore in a privileged position when it comes to highlighting incomplete (hi)stories.

The fictional texts examined in this thesis are examples of multidirectional memory in several ways: firstly through the connection to other nations' histories and secondly through reaching out to the reader. The reader's active engagement with the text is fundamental in the process of establishing meaning, which at the same time challenges the status of master narratives. Even if hardly anyone speaks of a traumatic style, this is where I would ultimately situate this research, as to varying degrees these works use narrative strategies that already include and point to another trauma, be that the Second World War or colonialism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Hutchinson, Ben
Uncontrolled keywords: Trauma, Memory, Second World War, Holocaust, Postcolonialism, Partition, India, Sebald, Ghosh, Desai, Rushdie
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 12:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 15:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Dilly, Melanie Simone.

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