The Complications of Exile and Belonging in Malcolm Cowley’s Exile’s Return (1934) and Fawaz Turki’s Exile’s Return (1994)

Ahmad Qabaha

Abstract


This paper reconsiders the representation of exile in the memoirs of the American modernist Malcolm Cowley and modern Palestinian writer Fawaz Turki, arguing that against the privileged use of exile by Cowley, Turki represents exile as a catastrophic condition. In so doing, my paper asserts the necessity of accounting for the catastrophic aspect of exile as represented in the modern Palestinian canon for a wider understanding of the notion of exile in the modern discourse. I argue that the modern Palestinian experience of exile as delineated in Turki’s Exile’s Return has tragic, historical and political specificities that disrupt the view of exile as a desired position in the modernist American canon, which Cowley’s Exile’s Return capitalises on. However, this juxtaposition does not look forward to negating or dismissing American modernists’ glorification of exile as a space offering possibilities for freedom, resistance and creativity. Instead, I aim by this juxtaposition to reuse the concept of exile in ways that do not gloss over the differences between various exilic conditions.    


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International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

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