Homeland variations: a response to the anxieties of self-identification in the context of displacement

Maslowska, Agata (2019) Homeland variations: a response to the anxieties of self-identification in the context of displacement. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

My PhD thesis addresses the question of how multilingual and exophonic writers used ‘other’ languages to express distinct cultural and identity concerns. I argue that writers have used languages in their fiction to negotiate the new voice of a migrant/minority community with the dominant culture and to challenge the mainstream reader to find new ways of reading the migrant/minority experience. In the critical thesis I explore such themes as writing in exile, narrative fugues, rhizomatic writing as they weave into my writing poetics. I use the concepts of a musical fugue and a rhizome to explore the politics of identity and language in the context of migration and displacement. These concepts offer a new way of reading the migrant experience by reframing it as the polyphony of multiplicity rather than the monophony of difference. Through my essayistic exploration, the critical thesis becomes a commentary on the novel and my manifesto as an exophonic writer who has chosen English rather than Polish as the main literary language.

I have used the results of my research to write Homeland Variations, a novel merging the interweaving stories of various migrants (Jan, Janine, her parents, Małgosia, Uncle Jurek, Maria, and Sophie in Amsterdam) into one fugal narrative and exploring the questions of language, identity, and place. The novel consists of two parts: Jan’s and Janine’s stories which stand in a counterpoint relation to each other and exist independently, just like two melodies in a fugue, connected through themes, languages, a character Maria, and a place – Edinburgh where both stories end. The two stories stand independently also with regards to the narrative style, as Jan’s narrative is surrealist, while Janine’s is realist. Homeland Variations portrays the loss of the mother tongue, the loss of social environment, and all the connections that make us feel that we belong. Through the voices of migrating characters, it looks at interactions within linguistic landscapes, at the distance and separation from everything anyone who lives ‘in exile’ desires to call home.

In the novel I merge languages on the page to show the multiple, centri-fugal, rhizomatic nature of being a migrant and writing in a foreign language. My creative vision goes against the monolithic “one nation-one state-one language” approach to both writing and migration. Both the critical thesis and the novel are my attempts to find language to talk about language in the acceptance of our state of being unsettled.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Exophony, language, identity, displacement, migration.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Strachan, Dr. Zoe and Herd, Dr. Colin
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 4 June 2022
Depositing User: Dr Agata Maslowska
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-72471
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 08:05
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 08:12
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72471

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