Edited By Irene Maria F. Blayer and Dulce Maria Scott
Chapter Twelve: Figurations of Diaspora: Contexts, Trajectories, Effects
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Figurations OF Diaspora
Contexts, Trajectories, Effects
Departing from the foundational notion of diaspora—and adopting a broad definition of this concept that includes dispersion and exile—I analyze several of the thematic possibilities it has engendered in relation to literary figurations in Portuguese literature. Such figurations—in both fictional and autobiographical registers—incorporate fundamental themes, such as departure, voyage, exile, border, identity, difference, alterity, self-understanding, and idiom. These themes, in turn, are directly related to specific narrative categories—narrative is the dominant form of discourse studied in this chapter—pertaining to character and time.
It is well-known that in different epochs and within the literary context, the diaspora motif has been depicted in distinctive manners. In this chapter, I engage in two discrete paths of analysis. The first revolves around the personal experience of the author, who often departs as an exile, and frequently projects his/her experience into fictional worlds, into how such worlds are constructed, as well as the characters that dwell in them.1 The second consists of literary themes, in the proper meaning of the word, elicited by the movement of diaspora. In the latter case, the representation of diaspora is done through the expression of thematic themes with specific meanings: exile, emigration, community, nostalgia, distance, return. The character, in the latter instance, assumes a critical position, and, as a ← 227 | 228 → fictional figure—constructed...
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