Date of Award
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts
Creative writing, Nonfiction
This dissertation, Uncountry, explores the gap between “remembered” official history and the more unreliable spaces of private memory and silent unofficial history. It aims to expand creative pathways into historical space, particularly histories of migration and displacement, and sets out to create both a map of belonging as well as walking the reader towards the nomadic spaces of dreams, memories and myths. I am specifically interested in the potential of cross-pollinating multiple sources of memory. How does the memory of my family’s migration (or its anecdotal narratives) intersect with my personal memory of visiting the Ukraine and the public documents that have recorded immigrants’ arrival in Ellis Island? What narratives emerge from collective remembrance and witness, and how does the engagement of diverse memory banks disrupt cohesive truth telling? The work resists closure and embraces the accumulation of multiple characters, histories, and experiences centering on archaic motifs as passed down through early written texts, such as the Hebrew Bible. Midrash is a further structural approach to move narratives beyond their own time-space limitations, their absences and silences, providing a manifold commentary on an original source text. Similarly to Susan Handelman’s comparison of Jabès’ work as an example of midrashic literature (60), characterized by the juxtaposition and varying of interpretations, Uncountry also employs a wide scope of narrative time and space, invested less in chronos, and rather embracing the Greek kairos.
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Received from author
Friedland, Yanara, "Uncountry" (2014). Restricted Access ETDs. 39.