Finding home in Babel : transnationalism, translation, and languages of identity / by Justine M. Pas.
“Finding Home in Babel” examines literary representations of (im)migrant identity formation and translation, or the ways in which cultural identity is created and articulated at linguistic crossroads. It explores the constructions and processes attending gendered accounts of immigration, Holocaust survival, and multilingual Polish, Yiddish, and English authorship in the autobiographical writings of three Polish Jewish American writers: Jadwiga Maurer, Irena Klepfisz, and Eva Hoffman. Through poems, short stories, and memoirs, these authors illustrate how immigrant identities are formed in the process of acquisition of American English, the adopted language, which informs and frames their own lives, as well as the lives of their fictional protagonists.While tracing the linguistic transitions in Maurer's, Hoffman's and Klepfisz's works, this project also examines these writers' conceptualization of home and homeland, and argues that they rest as much in language as in geography. In an exploration of synchronic and diachronic accounts of immigration and Holocaust survival, “Finding Home in Babel” combines literary examinations of culturally and linguistically displaced lives. It further highlights their distinctive voices by drawing upon extended interviews with all three writers. It proposes a fundamentally linguistic and transnational understanding of immigration that Hoffman, Klepfisz, and Maurer depict as interwoven with the history and memory of the Holocaust. Such a mix of literary analyses, oral history, and critical genre shows how Maurer's, Hoffman's and Klepfisz's representations of language and identity illustrate the ways that displacement and translation provide specific, often ambivalent, points of view on border crossing, home, and homeland. It provides a broader view of how immigrant writers create literary representations that make it possible for them to integrate their past experienced in native language(s) with their present lived in American English.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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