Writing Back: American Expatriates' Narratives of Return

This is the very last time I contribute to Alceis’ blog, and I would like to be a bit more personal, suggesting to read an e-book published in 2012 by my friend, Professor Susan Winnett, Writing Back: American Expatriates' Narratives of Return (The Johns Hopkins University Press- Baltimore). Susan has done me the honor of quoting my name among the persons who “supported this project more than they can imagine”. This book is about “The migration of American artists and intellectuals to Europe in the early twentieth century has been amply documented and studied, but few scholars have examined the aftermath of their return home. Writing Back focuses on the memoirs of modernist writers and intellectuals who struggled with their return to America after years of living abroad. Susan Winnett establishes repatriation as related to but significantly different from travel and exile. She engages in close readings of several writers-in-exile, including Henry James, Harold Stearns, Malcolm Cowley, and Gertrude Stein. Writing Back examines how repatriation unsettles the self-construction of the "returning absentee" by challenging the fictions of national and cultural identity with which the writer has experimented during the time abroad. As both Americans and expatriates, these writers gained a unique perspective on American culture, particularly in terms of gender roles, national identity, artistic self-conception, mobility, and global culture” (Joseph A. Boone, University of Southern California).I hope I was useful to the many expats I have accompanied through their relocations to, and from Paris these last ten years.
Marielle Canova