From Exile to Utopia: A Yugoslav Writers Return
Lecture | February 25 | 4-6 p.m. | B-4 Dwinelle Hall
The act of writing assures that exile is never permanent in the mind of the writer even if it is an abiding feature of their reality. Dubravka Ugresic explores this paradox in her essay The Writer in Exile, suggesting that what separates the exiled writer from the migrant is the formers ability to leave her footprints on the cultural map of the world, thus retaining the imprint of her existence. In this talk, I explore the dialectic of permanence and impermanence underlying Ugresics idea that the writer in exile experiences a double exile once on account of displacement and a second time because she is forced to reflect on the condition of being
displaced, in effect, staging her alienation in the act of commenting upon it. Were this to be the only point in the writers self-reflection, though, it would be quite one-sided. What is more compelling is the fold in Ugresics essay that rests on the conception of a retro-utopia, a place glimpsed in the unfulfilled past, and a home to which a community based on shared positions, not identity, can return.