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Displaced Literature: Images of Time and Space in Latvian Novels Depicting the First Years of the Latvian Postwar Exile
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Baltic Languages, Finnish and German.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the years immediately following the Second World War, the main part of Latvian literature was produced by writers living outside Latvia. To this day Latvian literature continues to be written outside Latvia, albeit to a much smaller extent.

This study examines those Latvian novels, written outside Latvia after the Second World War, which depict the realities of the early years of exile. The aim of the study is to describe the image of the world of exile as depicted in these novels. Borrowing from Bakhtin's concept of the chronotope, images relating to time and space in these novels are examined in order to discern a mental topography of exile common to all these novels - a chronotope of exile.

The novels are read as part of a collective narrative, produced by a particular social group in unordinary historical circumstances. The novels are regarded as this social group’s common perception of its own experience of this historical reality.

The early years of exile fall into two distinct periods: first, the period of flight from Latvia and life in and around the Displaced Persons camps of postwar Germany; second, the early years of settling in a new country of residence after emigration from Germany.

A model of the perceived world is constructed in order to compare these two periods, as well as their divergence from a standard perception of oneself in the world. This model consists of various time-spaces radiating concentrically out from the individual – ranging from the physically and psychologically near-lying time-spaces of one’s personal and intimate life, through everyday social time-spaces, as well as formal societal time-spaces, to the more distant abstract and conceptual perceptions of one’s place in the universe.

Basic human concepts such as home, family, work, intimate relationships, social administration, and most notably the homeland – Latvia – are plotted at various points within these models. Divergences between the models describing the perception of time and space in the two early periods of exile thus become apparent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2005. , 313 p.
Stockholm Studies in Baltic Languages, ISSN 0281-5478 ; 5
Keyword [en]
Bakhtin, chronotope, Displaced Person, émigré, exile, immigrant literature, Latvia, Latvian literature, Latvian history, life-story, narrative, novel, postwar Germany, refugee, setting, space, time, time-space, UNRRA, WWII
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-607ISBN: 91-85445-09-6OAI: diva2:195994
Public defence
2005-09-20, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-08-12 Created: 2005-08-12 Last updated: 2012-07-11Bibliographically approved

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