Chapter

Tomis Writes Back

Sebastian Matzner

in Two Thousand Years of Solitude

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603848
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731587 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603848.003.0018

Series: Classical Presences

Tomis Writes Back

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Narratives of exile necessarily operate in a markedly dichotomized space in which the absent (home) is omnipresent insofar as it dominates the entire perception of the present (exile); this chapter argues that the relationship between the lost home and the place of exile parallels the relationship between imperial centre (Rome) and colonial periphery (Tomis): the distant home as symbol and source of identity stands in opposition to the Other of exile, presented as inferior to the centre/home. This postcolonial notion of the centre–periphery relationship provides an insightful framework for a comparative study of two major twentieth-century novelistic re-narrations of Ovid’s life in exile: Vintila Horia’s God Was Born in Exile (1960) and David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life (1978). Both novels exemplify the link between situations of exile and postcolonialism by subverting the traditional monodirectional take on the land of exile.

Keywords: Tomis; Rome; centre–periphery; postcolonialism; exile; Vintila Horia; David Malouf; Other; home

Chapter.  6598 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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