Forced Migration Narratives and the Nation-State: ‘Out’ and ‘Go, Went, Gone’

Article


Hourigan, Daniel. 2023. "Forced Migration Narratives and the Nation-State: ‘Out’ and ‘Go, Went, Gone’ ." Critique (Washington): studies in contemporary fiction. https://doi.org/10.1080/00111619.2023.2221780
Article Title

Forced Migration Narratives and the Nation-State: ‘Out’ and ‘Go, Went, Gone’

ERA Journal ID11544
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsHourigan, Daniel
Journal TitleCritique (Washington): studies in contemporary fiction
Number of Pages12
Year2023
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN0011-1619
1939-9138
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/00111619.2023.2221780
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00111619.2023.2221780
Abstract

This article offers a critical comparison of representations of forced migration and law in Out (1964) by Christine Brooke-Rose and Go, Went, Gone (2015) by Jenny Erpenbeck. The literary value of forced migration themes can be seen in how they act as a pivot point between literary imaginaries, the representation of trauma, and the real-world effects of law and politics on displaced people. Brooke-Rose’s Out explores the supposed cultural decline of mid-twentieth century Britain through a tension between identity politics and law. By contrast, Erpenbeck’s Go, Went, Gone [Gehen, ging, gegangen] uses the well-worn postcolonial trope of exile to frame its story of conversion. Where Out and other literary works stage a socio-cultural change wrought in the wake of forced migration, Go, Went, Gone presents a narrative of contrition for its protagonist. Both Brooke-Rose’s and Erpenbeck’s narratives hinge on their protagonists negotiating the legal complexities that govern refugees of forced migration. This article will explore how these novels offer a glimpse of the conservation of the modern nation-state that is a real-world site of the legal, cultural, and political circumscription of people displaced by forced migration.

Keywordsforced migration; law; refugees
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470507. Comparative and transnational literature
470208. Culture, representation and identity
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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