Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/126334
Type: Thesis
Title: Mobile Lives: ‘The Expatriates: Short stories’ and ‘The Possibilities of Expatriate Fiction: Exegesis’
Author: Lennan, Joanne Nicole
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : English and Creative Writing
Abstract: This is a creative writing PhD thesis comprised of two related parts: the short story cycle ‘The Expatriates’ and its accompanying exegesis ‘The Possibilities of Expatriate Fiction’. Both the short story cycle and the exegesis explore the possibilities of expatriate fiction – here meaning fictional works that are either about expatriates or written by writers living abroad. ‘The Expatriates’ is a cycle of eight short stories. Animated by Walter Benjamin’s notion of the seafaring merchant as a teller of stories from afar, and aspiring to fictional virtues of movement and lightness, these stories seek to render contemporary experiences of living ‘abroad’ – in the original sense of being at large, or the contemporary sense of being in another country. Trading in themes of escape and reinvention, the collection features varied settings: a mill town in southeastern New South Wales; two cities in Japan; the back rooms of Heathrow Airport; an artists’ colony in Spain; an apartment in Moscow; a Sydney café; and an unnamed, Mars-like planet. Rather than treating these settings as exceptionally exotic, however, the stories reveal specific instantiations of modernity, or what Drusilla Modjeska calls ‘the stuff of (modern) lives’ (Timepieces 209). The exegesis, ‘The possibilities of expatriate fiction’, turns first to twentieth-century depictions of modern, mobile lives. Whereas longstanding critical traditions describe Christina Stead and Mavis Gallant as ‘expatriate’ or ‘cosmopolitan’ writers without examining how these commitments manifested in their works, this study reveals the authors’ distinctive cosmopolitanisms. One chapter examines the cosmopolitan character of Stead’s Letty Fox: Her Luck (1946), an interloper’s novel of New York that was written in the tradition of European picaresque narratives. Another reads two of Gallant’s early stories, ‘Travellers Must Be Content’ (1959) and ‘The Cost of Living’ (1962), as depicting not only the opportunities but also the costs of an expatriate existence, foregrounding notions of costliness and economy. The comparative discussion of these texts reveals a range of ambivalent states and negotiations with ideas of the nation and belonging. A concluding chapter turns to the implications of expatriatism and cosmopolitanism for a contemporary writer. Surveying recent re-readings of these concepts in critical and literary theory, it builds on Shameem Black’s defence of the possibility of ‘noninvasive imaginative acts’ that ‘question, rather than inevitably reinscribe, the inequalities and injustices of a globalizing world’ (65). Offering an account of the overlapping concerns and tactics in ‘The Expatriates’, it maps a provisional ethos and terrain for a fiction that evokes new expatriate states.
Advisor: Jose, Nicholas
Castro, Brian
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2018
Keywords: Fiction
short stories
cosmopolitanism
expatriates
Christina Stead
Mavis Gallant
the nation
Description: Vol. 1 ‘The Expatriates: Short stories’ -- Vol 2 ‘The Possibilities of Expatriate Fiction: Exegesis’
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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