Writing differently somewhere else: studies in the American expatriate novel
This dissertation seeks to formulate a general theory of the expatriate novel. Central to that theory is the important recognition that the movement of fictional characters away from their familiar surroundings to a place foreign, exotic, at times dangerous is a narrative basic to many American texts. In other words, the study registers not only the impact of the literally foreign, but also the extent to which "expatriation" is an aesthetic, psychological, and moral adventure whose links to American literature in general remain crucial: "flight and escape from social order, from the beginnings, have been dominant themes in the patterns of American life and literature."The analysis proceeds with discussions of seven expatriate novels, each the focus of a separate chapter: Edith Wharton's The Reef, Henry James's The Ambassadors, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, Earnest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Paul Bowles's Let It Come Down, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, and James Fenimore Cooper's Home as Found. In each of the specific texts, the study examines the encounter of the American with the foreign, frequently finding some version of "double consciousness," an ironic stance, in which the native and foreign elements stand in irreconcilable tension. It is this tension that ultimately constitutes the generic distinction of the American expatriate novel.
- English