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Migrant Imaginaries

Figures in Italian Migration Literature

Series:

Jennifer Burns

This book addresses a rich corpus of contemporary narratives by authors who have come to Italy as migrants. It traces the figurative commonalities that emerge across these diverse texts, which together suggest the shape and substance of what might be termed ‘migrant imaginaries’. Examining five central figures and concepts – identity, memory, home, place and space, and literature – across a range of novels and stories by writers of African and Middle Eastern origin, the study elucidates the affective and expressive processes that inflect migrant story-telling. Drawing on the work of cultural theorists such as Sara Ahmed and Michel de Certeau, as well as on recent work in postcolonial literary studies, memory studies, human geography and feminist theory, the book probes the varied works of Shirin Ramzanali Fazel, Amara Lakhous, Mohsen Melliti, Younis Tawfik and many others. Each chapter posits alternative interpretations of the ways in which the interior experience of encounters across territories, cultures and languages is figured in this literature. In doing so, the book moves towards a wider apprehension of recent Italian migration narratives as suggestions of what a new notion of contemporary ‘Italian’ literature might look like, figured at once within and beyond the boundaries of a national literature, a national language and a national cultural imaginary.

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Ahmed, Sara 14–15, 19, 21, 25, 30, 33, 34, 48, 54, 103–4, 112, 116, 118, 120, 125, 126, 129, 130 n, 186 Albania 17, 82, 199, 206 Algeria 6, 9, 13, 24, 41, 69, 84–91, 94–5, 96, 97, 110, 127, 129–30, 158, 160, 166, 168, 195, 197, 206 autobiography 15, 16, 26, 186, 192, 196, 197 see also genre bodies 13–14, 24, 34, 53, 56, 59–60, 62, 74–5, 79, 81, 83, 105, 106 n, 107, 112, 116–19, 127, 129, 165, 170, 186 Bouchane, Mohamed 23 Brizzi, Enrico 202 Campobasso, Antonio 1–3, 9, 13, 206 colonialism, Italian 2–3, 20, 55, 126–7, 168, 190, 194, 202 see also postcolonial literature and theory de Certeau, Michel 1, 4, 6, 12, 20, 23, 99, 102–3, 104, 106, 119, 122, 130, 134–5, 136, 141, 144, 164–5, 191–5, 207 Dekhis, Amor 18, 69, 84–90, 91, 92–8, 109 n, 112, 127, 181, 182, 188, 197, 198, 206 desert 74, 97, 107–9, 143–4, 180, 183 Egypt 47, 54, 119, 121, 169, 171, 181 Eks&Tra 198, 200 Fazel, Shirin Ramzanali 18, 185, 190 Lontano da Mogadiscio 105, 122–6 Nuvole sull’equatore. Gli italiani dimenticati. Una storia 26, 55–64, 126–8, 202, 203, 206 Fortunato, Mario see Methnani, Salah Gadji, Mbacke 200 genre 9, 95, 177, 180, 196–8, 199 crime fiction and thriller 95, 197, 198 fable, fairy-tale, folk-tale 98, 122, 123, 180, 197 magical realism 184...

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