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By Daniel Katz

This examine takes as its element of departure a vital premise: that the common phenomenon of expatriation in American modernism is much less a flight from the fatherland than a dialectical go back to it, yet one that renders uncanny all tropes of familiarity and immediacy which 'fatherlands' and 'mother tongues' are normally noticeable as supplying. during this framework, equally totalizing notions of cultural authenticity are visible to control either exoticist mystification and 'nativist' obsessions with the purity of the 'mother tongue.' even as, cosmopolitanism, translation, and multilingualism turn into frequently eroticized tropes of violation of this version, and as a result, concurrently courted and abhorred, in a flow which, if crystallized in expatriate modernism, persevered to make its presence felt beyond.Beginning with the overdue paintings of Henry James, this publication is going directly to learn at size Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein, to finish with the uncanny regionalism of mid-century San Francisco Renaissance poet Jack Spicer, and the deterritorialized aesthetic of Spicer's peer, John Ashbery. via an emphasis on modernism as an area of generalized interference, the perform and trope of translation emerges as valuable to all the writers involved, whereas the publication is still in consistent discussion with key contemporary works on transnationalism, transatlanticism, and modernism.

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The emphasis would be on an ever expanding set of mastered cultural economies and practices, on an endless capacity for identification and comfort. An unending home is perhaps one pole of the Whitmanian narcissistic dream, a microcosmic expression of American expansionism, the Manifest Destiny of individual manners, but here we have something different. Ralph asks where does home begin, and a home which doesn’t “begin” in any particular, certain site, a home whose locus, whose home base, can no longer be located or situated is precisely not a home.

In this light, exoticism is always in part a return, and translation always already constitutive of the construction of the native. Moments of expatriation, in the larger sense, become moments of the return of and to the space absented; moments of translation become moments of the slipping away of the domestic to which the foreign is to be brought. Recurrent in this study will be paradigmatic scenes of such uneasy desires, articulated between total reification of the other and total untethering from one’s own identifications, and at times through the complicity between the two.

By appealing to the moral imperative in the proverb Henrietta gives her rather pedantic version of patriotism, certainly, but she also implicitly affirms another possibility: that of considering patriotism as something that might not begin at home, that of acknowledging that a displacement to the “foreign” might be a dialectical move in investigating one’s relationship to what one considers as familiar. She can be read as offering to Ralph the possibility of asserting that he is indeed a sort of “patriot,” examining his relationship to the fatherland precisely by absenting himself from it.

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