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Twofold Identities

Norwegian-American Contributions to Midwestern Literature

Oyvind T. Gulliksen

Twofold Identities is a study of Midwestern American literature as well as of Norwegian-American immigrant texts. Many readers have judged the latter to be a mere reflection of immigrant experience, a judgment that is neither fair nor correct. These American writers were forced to confront an essentially modern experience complicated by the contextual duality of bilingualism. For early Midwestern immigrant writers and their readers, the task of homemaking in a new setting was a philosophically challenging and highly problematic endeavor. These Midwestern writers were not lost, divided, nor rootless. They had the unique privileged ability to draw on the resources of two worlds. As writers they enjoyed – and helped to strengthen – twofold identities.