The deepest South: a comparative analysis of issues of exile in the work of selected women writers from South Africa and the American South

Meisel, Jacqueline Susan (2013) The deepest South: a comparative analysis of issues of exile in the work of selected women writers from South Africa and the American South. Doctoral thesis, University of Cumbria (awarded by Lancaster University).

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Abstract

This thesis examines the ways in which exile, both actual and metaphorical, informs the work of four path breaking female writers from South Africa and the American South: Carson McCullers, Bessie Head, Zoë Wicomb and Dorothy Allison. In this study, exilic consciousness is closely linked to postcolonial, nomadic feminisms which can best be understood as liminal, as fundamentally ‘out of place’. The border-crossings involved here are not only geographical, they also signify a change in critical consciousness, as the foundational texts of this thesis – Rosi Braidotti’s Nomadic Feminism and Francoise Lionnet and Shu-Mei Shih’s Minor Transnationalism – indicate. By exploring writers who problematise the categories of race, gender, sexuality and class I demonstrate how these writers offer new ways of reading the postcolonial condition as nomadic, and I examine the shared processes that nations and individuals undergo as they experience political and personal liberation struggles. My thesis is divided into four main parts. The opening section offers both an introduction to, and rationale for, the study, providing historical and sociocultural contextualisation linking South Africa and the American South; it goes on to establish my choices of Carson McCullers and Dorothy Allison as the southern US writers in this study and Bessie Head and Zoë Wicomb as the South Africans. In the opening chapter I interrogate self-representation and variations in autobiography by the four writers. Chapter 2 has as its focus body and exilic consciousness in selected work by all four writers. My final chapter examines identity formation as situated subjectivity in the work of Allison and Wicomb who are foregrounded here. I contend that transnationalism need not be seen as inevitably homogenising; rather, I show that minority individuals and groups can establish agency through transversal, lateral networks.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Doctoral)
Departments: Humanities
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2018 09:22
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2018 09:23
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3991

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