Date of Award

2013

First Advisor

Brendan Mathews

Second Advisor

Asma Abbas

Abstract

This thesis is a study of exile in literature, and attempts to uncover a tradition among two contemporary writers from the former Yugoslavia, Aleksandar Hemon and Dubravka Ugrešić. The first two chapters are an exegesis of Hemon’s work to date, and Ugrešić’s novel The Museum of Unconditional Surrender. The last chapter places Hemon into a conversation with Dostoevsky and Ellison, and moves tentatively towards questions of diaspora, or generational exile. Four short stories follow the three critical sections, and serve as a space of connection to my own unconscious. Writing fiction has meant studying authors technically as well as thematically, and has complimented my concepts of criticism and history. Through this thesis, I am trying to complicate the critical reception of Hemon, and questions of exile in politics and aesthetics. I have focused primarily on the topics of movement, territory, and negation throughout the course of this work. Exile is dislocation and reinvention, and the authors of this condition create new territories in literature. The exile is a potent means to avoid the reduction of identity in contemporary political discourse, and is able to locate disconnection and transience rather than continuity. Through literary studies, political theory, and fiction, I hope to approach an understanding of the historical condition known as exile.

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