Volume on 20th-century exile literature, deadline Sept 1

full name / name of organization: 
Axel Englund, Anders Olsson

Call for papers


This book-to-be aims to examine the relation between geographic and linguistic border crossings in the context of twentieth-century exile literature. Its focal point will be the mark that the widespread experience of exile left upon the literary languages of that epoch: if the writer in exile must necessarily confront the fact of linguistic difference, literature can be read as the site where such confrontation is played out aesthetically. Literary writing, in other words, becomes the point of intersection between native and acquired language, between the indigenous and the alien, between self and other, in a complex bi- or multilingual dynamic specific to the situation of exile. In the last century, this position of the exile writer has been conditioned not only by wars, repression and persecution but by a new literary horizon with universal or transnational claims to validity. Through language and creation, the alienating experience of exilic loss can thus potentially be transformed into a paradoxical homecoming.

The essays will address a number of interrelated examples: exile writers who continue to work in their native tongue, which is altered or influenced by the alien context; exile writers who take the leap into another language, in part or completely, and thus bring the experiences of their own language across into a foreign one; exile writers who cope with (or take advantage of) the confrontation with a new language and its literature through the practice of translation; exile writers who mix multiple languages in their work and thus create a literature that resists translation by sprawling across linguistic borders. New light will be shed upon these literary situations through concepts developed in contemporary theory of exile and transnational literature, including world literature, translation theory, post-colonialism, literary space, flight and deterritorialization. Contributions focusing on theoretical concepts and historical examples are equally welcome.

Prospective contributors are asked to submit an abstract of ca 500 words no later than September 1, 2011. The abstracts will be reviewed during the first weeks of September, and the deadline for the complete essays will be early 2012. Please send your abstract and your current academic affiliation by e-mail to axel.englund@littvet.su.se and anders.olsson@littvet.su.se.

Kind regards,

Axel Englund,
PhD, Anna Lindh Fellow, The Europe Center, Stanford University

Anders Olsson,
PhD, Professor, Department of Literature and History of Ideas, Stockholm University