On the outside, looking out

By | September 15, 2011

The twentieth century’s great literary “outsiders” — including Albert Camus, Richard Wright, V.S. Naipaul and Elie Wiesel, to name but a few — finally come together in Exiles, Outcasts, Strangers: Icons of Marginalization in Post World War II Narrative by Mary Jo Muratore (Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair of the Humanities, University of Missouri, USA), now available in the US and seeking asylum on British shores on 27 October. Is there anything we can say about this remarkable book that our reviewers haven’t said better?

“The place of the margins in literary discourse stands prominently as a fulcrum of inquiry among twentieth-century writers and contemporary literary scholars. Twentieth-century prose seeks explicitly to forge and sustain a fundamental distance from the ‘center,’ which appears both as anathema to contemporary writers and which does not fairly bespeak the predominant vision of l’humaine condition. Within such a frame, Dr. Muratore’s masterful study of otherness brings stunning insights and new dimensions to the complex, forever unresolved problematic of alienation, marginalization and apartness. The critic illuminates the work of nine post-World War II novelists—each, by dint of circumstance or destiny, culturally apart, each singularly estranged, and, more compellingly, each the creator of a fictionalized universe in which the protagonist confronts the essence of unhinged lost-ness. Muratore thus offers sophisticated and far-reaching analyses and accompanies the reader on an intriguing series of journeys, each borne of ‘difference,’ yet powerfully unified. The literary dances are highly compelling as the book explores that muted but ever-present part of our human prejudice—otherness—from the perspectives of those on the fringes.”
Bethel Erastus Obilo (Vice president of Academic Affairs and Research, University of Atlanta, USA)

“Muratore’s work, written with polish and flair, offers an alternate theory of reading, and does so with clarity and depth, void of the convolutions to which we are too often exposed. The critic wields a study of estrangement in numerous texts, while establishing a bond of immediacy with the reader. A stunning discourse of and about textual difference!”
Jack Jordan (Professor of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, Mississippi State University, USA)

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