Spaces of Exile

Lost worlds, places which no longer exist or cannot be returned to

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 diaspora also signifies the entrance of a new temporal phase of life.

Example Texts
An illuminated letter from a manuscript of The Odyssey

Homer, The Odyssey

Portrait of John Claire

John Clare

Illustration from Peter and Wendy

J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy

Cover of The Voyage in the Dark

Jean Rhys, The Voyage in the Dark

Cover of The Enigma of Arrival

V. S. Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival