Spaces of Exile

Lost worlds (places which no longer exist or to which one cannot return)

This group of texts concerns literary worlds or places that are defined in terms of absence. Chronotopically, they concern being cut off, remote in time and space from a particular site, and are also likely to be centred on tropes of exile and upon the contrast between past and present or memories of the past. This may be literal - as in the sense of ecological loss redolent in John Clare's verse - or personal and subjective, as in the nostalgic recollections of the sites of childhood of J M Barrie's Peter Pan texts. Frequently, though, private loss (registered spatially through exile or migration, and temporally through maturity) and collective loss bleed into each other. The movement of exile implies a spatial displacement from homeland, but it also implies temporal change. While transfer to a new place is marked by a literal passage of time, settlement in the diaspora also signifies the entrance of a new temporal phase of life.