By Françoise Kral
The determine of the migrant has been celebrated by means of a few as an icon of postmodernity, an emblematic determine in an international more and more characterised by means of transnationalism, globalization and mass migrations. Král takes factor with this view of the migrant event via in-depth analyses of writers together with Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith and Monica Ali.
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Extra info for Critical Identities in Contemporary Anglophone Diasporic Literature
Not only does it show chameleon-like characters or janus-type figures who fit – more or less easily – into two worlds, it constantly displaces Western discourse from within and interrogates its categories. The territorial remapping of identity, which we discussed in relation to postcolonial literature has its equivalent in diasporic fiction where it is best embodied by the motif of the journey to the host country, which introduces spatial discontinuity. This motif has been a leitmotiv in diasporic fiction, from such seminal texts as George Lamming’s The Emigrants (1954) or Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners (1956).
As for the notion of sameness, it is challenged by the contextual transience of situations and categories. From which it results that identity cannot be anything but interstitial, in the sense of not being fully aligned with abstract definitions with which it is bound to clash. 1 The everchanging contours of human geography are a constant reminder of the fluidity of identity definitions, of their inadequacy; they are always either too rigid or too monolithic and unable to keep pace with the 26 Identity, Interstitiality and Diaspora 27 complex patterns of reconfiguration of human geography.
Arno Peter’s map, drawn four hundred years later, gives more accurate proportions of the continents: Europe is smaller, Africa larger. (Farah, 1986, 229) This example points to the fact that the mapping of a new identity (in the actual and metaphorical senses of the term) forces the child to redefine home versus non-home; but it also leads him to reposition his former self and his nation in relation to the new map of the world imposed by colonialism. This repositioning of the colonized subject therefore takes place on two levels: the personal level of individual colonial subjects; but also on that of national identity and the way it is unsettled and destabilized in a colonial context (even if the second level reflects back on the first one).
Critical Identities in Contemporary Anglophone Diasporic Literature by Françoise Kral