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Writing Back

American Expatriates' Narratives of Return

The migration of American artists and intellectuals to Europe in the early twentieth century has been amply documented and studied, but few scholars have examined the aftermath of their return home. Writing Back focuses on the memoirs of modernist writers and intellectuals who struggled with their return to America after years of living abroad.

Susan Winnett establishes repatriation as related to but significantly different from travel and exile. She engages in close readings of several writers-in-exile, including Henry James, Harold Stearns, Malcolm Cowley, and Gertrude Stein.

Writing Back
examines how repatriation unsettles the self-construction of the "returning absentee" by challenging the fictions of national and cultural identity with which the writer has experimented during the time abroad. As both Americans and expatriates, these writers gained a unique perspective on American culture, particularly in terms of gender roles, national identity, artistic self-conception, mobility, and global culture.

About the Author

Susan Winnett is University Professor of American Studies at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (Germany). She is the author of Terrible Sociability: The Text of Manners in Laclos, Goethe, and James.

Reviews

"Even scholars familiar with these works will find Winnett's reading fresh, erudite, and insightful."—Choice

"Winnett's tightly-argued chapters, and the sense of intellectual exchange between them, mark this as an important book in the literary history of transatlantic migration."—Forum for Modern Language Studies

"Writing Back vividly adds to the existing body of work on expatriatism by considering, as very few have done, the surprisingly frequent accounts of those writers' returns to America. Winnett's learned and elegantly written book makes a highly original contribution to a current wave of theoretical discourse that looks at the interrelated tropes of exile, travel, and tourism from global and transnational perspectives."—Joseph A. Boone, University of Southern California

The Johns Hopkins University Press
Rethinking Theory

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