More than ten years ago, in Culture and Imperialism, Said identified migration as the road map to intellectual freedom, presented under the form of the “unhoused, decentered, and exilic energies” of culture, “whose incarnation today is the migrant, and whose consciousness is that of the intellectual and artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages” (Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, London, Vintage, 1994, p. 403). This condition of in-betweenness and hybridity fosters a comprehensive sense of plurality in which different aspects of life are called into question. Domains, forms, homes and languages are the main key sites on which the notion of migration operates; literary forms are one of the ways through which this operation is performed. Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup allows a deep exploration of various aspects linked to the migratory experience, each of them retaining, on its turn, a multiplicity of symbolic implications. First of all, the geographical displacement of the two protagonists from the city of Johannesburg to a small country village near the desert poses the Middle East culture as opposed to the South African reality. One of the crucial aspects of the novel is the reconsideration of place connected to the idea of migration not intended towards western countries anymore, but considered as a transit within African countries. Interesting assumptions result from the reading of migration as a social and cultural point of intersection which gives birth to new forms of identity. The characters’ lives tend towards “another country” a third place that is the metaphor of cultural wholeness but also a place where they can find their own new dimension of “other”. Migration is here intended as the performing of different inner evolutions; changing place can alternatively signify a total nullification of one’s own identity or the building of a new one shaped according to the rules given by a new society. Finally, migration concerns language, ways of expression, and modes of communication. The search of a new dimension is introduced through the presence of two different languages (English and Arabic), as well as through the relevance given to the distinction between written and spoken idioms, based on Michel de Certeau’s assumption of ‘orality as the space of the other’. The aim of my paper is to show how Said’s ‘decentered, and exilic energies’ of culture produced by individuals, identities and languages on the move are not only a means to reach liberation intended as an intellectual task, but also pose questions concerning the meaning of metaphorical migrations, the entity of the borders being crossed, the transformations occurring while these movements are taking place.

“Stepping across which line? Geographical and intellectual dislocations in Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup”,

ZULLI T
2009

Abstract

More than ten years ago, in Culture and Imperialism, Said identified migration as the road map to intellectual freedom, presented under the form of the “unhoused, decentered, and exilic energies” of culture, “whose incarnation today is the migrant, and whose consciousness is that of the intellectual and artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages” (Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, London, Vintage, 1994, p. 403). This condition of in-betweenness and hybridity fosters a comprehensive sense of plurality in which different aspects of life are called into question. Domains, forms, homes and languages are the main key sites on which the notion of migration operates; literary forms are one of the ways through which this operation is performed. Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup allows a deep exploration of various aspects linked to the migratory experience, each of them retaining, on its turn, a multiplicity of symbolic implications. First of all, the geographical displacement of the two protagonists from the city of Johannesburg to a small country village near the desert poses the Middle East culture as opposed to the South African reality. One of the crucial aspects of the novel is the reconsideration of place connected to the idea of migration not intended towards western countries anymore, but considered as a transit within African countries. Interesting assumptions result from the reading of migration as a social and cultural point of intersection which gives birth to new forms of identity. The characters’ lives tend towards “another country” a third place that is the metaphor of cultural wholeness but also a place where they can find their own new dimension of “other”. Migration is here intended as the performing of different inner evolutions; changing place can alternatively signify a total nullification of one’s own identity or the building of a new one shaped according to the rules given by a new society. Finally, migration concerns language, ways of expression, and modes of communication. The search of a new dimension is introduced through the presence of two different languages (English and Arabic), as well as through the relevance given to the distinction between written and spoken idioms, based on Michel de Certeau’s assumption of ‘orality as the space of the other’. The aim of my paper is to show how Said’s ‘decentered, and exilic energies’ of culture produced by individuals, identities and languages on the move are not only a means to reach liberation intended as an intellectual task, but also pose questions concerning the meaning of metaphorical migrations, the entity of the borders being crossed, the transformations occurring while these movements are taking place.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/716082
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