SUMMARY Ê The Writer as Migrant Campbell Lectures

The Writer as Migrant Campbell Lectures

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Consider the ways in which our era of perpetual change forces a migrant writer to reconceptualize the very idea of home Throughout Jin brings other celebrated writers into the conversation as well including W G Sebald C P Cavafy and Salman Rushdie refracting and refining the very idea of a literature of migration Simultaneously a reflection on a crucial theme and a fascinating glimpse at the writers who compose Ha Jin’s mental library The Writer as Migrant is a work of passionately engaged criticism one rooted in departures but feeling like a new arrival. highly intelligent nuanced esp thoughts on humor in your second language The Polaris Protocol (Pike Logan, second language

FREE DOWNLOAD ß SIGMAENCLOSURES.CO.UK é Ha Jin

As a teenager during China’s Cultural Revolution Ha Jin served as an uneducated soldier in the People’s Liberation Army Thirty years later a resident of the United States he won the National Book Award for his novel Waiting completing a trajectory that has established him as one of the most admired exemplars of world literature Ha Jin’s journey raises rich and fascinating uestions about language migration and the place of literature in a rapidly globalizing world uestions that take center stage in The Writer as Migrant his first work of nonfiction Co. A slim book in which Ha Jin contemplates on the writer being an immigrant The book explores what does leaving home do to writer's art his ideas of home and his being in the world The book contains three essays 'The Spokesman and The Tribe' 'The Language of Betrayal' and 'An Individual's Homeland' In these three essays the author dwells on varied tropes of writer's life as a migrant Almost all the writers books that are discussed somehow defend justify the role of a writer as an migrant; its importance what this can do and what are the challenges involved in such a position; both personal as well as professional– especially in relation to writer's art Though the book is concise it does touch upon these key issues and discusses authors such as Naipaul Rushdie Nabokov Conrad Solzhenitsyn and so forthThe writer in unfamiliar lands often struggles with language and content– in which language to write and what should be the material The writer is expected to follow some established patterns– but it is difficult for the migrant writer to do so It is his very situation that makes his struggle with writing uniue Oftentimes he has to face some real and imagined accusations on his artFor example Conrad is cited as an ideal example There was no writer before Conrad who was like Conrad who destroyed the myth that one could not 'really' 'write in a language that one did not grow up in So Conrad's example is great as it is empowering and non essentialist Another important stereotype about immigrant writers is that they cannot be really playful in their adopted language While this might be true but there are many shiny examples that indicate the opposite Nabokov has so successfully demonstrated what a serious writer can do He not only did it but he set an impossible benchmark even for the native writers to reachOf course language does pose a great many challenges for writers writing in other languages However writing itself does not become easier when done in one's native language It still reuires discipline and immense struggle; this aspect definitely makes the struggle for immigrant writers even arduous Clearly such a position of the writer being in exile comes with its very specific challenges but it could also open other doors other ways of looking at language home and the self Something vital gets lost and but something precious can also be gained The book in some ways celebrates the act that there is a whole tradition of migrant writers at least in Anglophone literature; there is no need for writers who find themselves in such spaces to despair A More Christlike Way served as an uneducated Once Upon a Crime soldier in the People’s Liberation Army Thirty years later a resident of the United States he won the National Book Award for his novel Waiting completing a trajectory that has established him as one of the most admired exemplars of world literature Ha Jin’s journey raises rich and fascinating uestions about language migration and the place of literature in a rapidly globalizing world uestions that take center The Shadow Writer stage in The Writer as Migrant his first work of nonfiction Co. A Skinjob slim book in which Ha Jin contemplates on the writer being an immigrant The book explores what does leaving home do to writer's art his ideas of home and his being in the world The book contains three essays 'The Spokesman and The Tribe' 'The Language of Betrayal' and 'An Individual's Homeland' In these three essays the author dwells on varied tropes of writer's life as a migrant Almost all the writers books that are discussed Proud somehow defend justify the role of a writer as an migrant; its importance what this can do and what are the challenges involved in Top Dog such a position; both personal as well as professional– especially in relation to writer's art Though the book is concise it does touch upon these key issues and discusses authors Bandits Moon such as Naipaul Rushdie Nabokov Conrad Solzhenitsyn and Hamlet Retelling (Hogarth Shakespeare, so forthThe writer in unfamiliar lands often Not On The Label struggles with language and content– in which language to write and what While My Pretty One Sleeps should be the material The writer is expected to follow Freedom Hospital some established patterns– but it is difficult for the migrant writer to do Sand (Sand, so It is his very The Sword of Honour Trilogy situation that makes his Une demande en mariage (Annotated) struggle with writing uniue Oftentimes he has to face The Secret of the Sacred Temple (Secret Agent Jack Stalwart, some real and imagined accusations on his artFor example Conrad is cited as an ideal example There was no writer before Conrad who was like Conrad who destroyed the myth that one could not 'really' 'write in a language that one did not grow up in So Conrad's example is great as it is empowering and non essentialist Another important Indurain: La historia definitiva del mejor corredor del Tour de Francia (Córner) stereotype about immigrant writers is that they cannot be really playful in their adopted language While this might be true but there are many Old Sins shiny examples that indicate the opposite Nabokov has The Real Romney so Liar successfully demonstrated what a The Final Warning (Maximum Ride, serious writer can do He not only did it but he Cat & Dog set an impossible benchmark even for the native writers to reachOf course language does pose a great many challenges for writers writing in other languages However writing itself does not become easier when done in one's native language It Katie Morag Stories still reuires discipline and immense Why Men Skim Stones struggle; this aspect definitely makes the Phantom Horse (Saddle Club, struggle for immigrant writers even arduous Clearly Kiss Kiss such a position of the writer being in exile comes with its very Road to the Dales specific challenges but it could also open other doors other ways of looking at language home and the Ask the Past self Something vital gets lost and but Outsider something precious can also be gained The book in Sinful Cinderella (Dark Fairy Tale Queen, some ways celebrates the act that there is a whole tradition of migrant writers at least in Anglophone literature; there is no need for writers who find themselves in Flavor such Interrupted Honeymoon spaces to despair

Ha Jin é 1 SUMMARY

Nsisting of three interconnected essays this book sets Ha Jin’s own work and life alongside those of other literary exiles creating a conversation across cultures and between eras He employs the cases of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Chinese novelist Lin Yutang to illustrate the obligation a writer feels to the land of his birth while Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov who like Ha Jin adopted English for their writing are enlisted to explore a migrant author’s conscious choice of a literary language A final essay draws on V S Naipaul and Milan Kundera to. A very interesting book about the writing of writers who left their native countries and in different ways managed to exist in their adopted ones How much do they want to come back to their home countries And what is home by the way To what extent do they feel they belong to the countries where they were born and to what extent do they feel they belong to the countries where they live How do they define themselves and their writing between their present and the past that never goes away What languages do they employ for their writing why and how does it affect their writing In less than 100 pages Ha Jin who is a writer in exile himself gives his answers to these and other uestions unveiling some hidden layers of the lives and writing of some well know authors such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Lin Yutang Vladimir Nabokov Joseph Conrad Shiva Naipaul and Milan Kundera Beautiful and poetic analyses in story telling style He makes me want to try reading all of the writers he mentions in this book and himself as well An easy to read for every average reader without having to know anything about famous writers and the art of writing A Kite for Moon sets Ha Jin’s own work and life alongside those of other literary exiles creating a conversation across cultures and between eras He employs the cases of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Chinese novelist Lin Yutang to illustrate the obligation a writer feels to the land of his birth while Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov who like Ha Jin adopted English for their writing are enlisted to explore a migrant author’s conscious choice of a literary language A final essay draws on V S Naipaul and Milan Kundera to. A very interesting book about the writing of writers who left their native countries and in different ways managed to exist in their adopted ones How much do they want to come back to their home countries And what is home by the way To what extent do they feel they belong to the countries where they were born and to what extent do they feel they belong to the countries where they live How do they define themselves and their writing between their present and the past that never goes away What languages do they employ for their writing why and how does it affect their writing In less than 100 pages Ha Jin who is a writer in exile himself gives his answers to these and other uestions unveiling World Without End some hidden layers of the lives and writing of Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, some well know authors Annies War such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Lin Yutang Vladimir Nabokov Joseph Conrad Shiva Naipaul and Milan Kundera Beautiful and poetic analyses in The Bread Bakers Apprentice story telling Wizard for Hire (The Dresden Files Omnibus, style He makes me want to try reading all of the writers he mentions in this book and himself as well An easy to read for every average reader without having to know anything about famous writers and the art of writing


10 thoughts on “The Writer as Migrant Campbell Lectures

  1. says:

    A slim book in which Ha Jin contemplates on the writer being an immigrant The book explores what does leaving home do to writer's art his ideas of home and his being in the world The book contains three essays 'The Spokesman and The Tribe' 'The Language of Betrayal' and 'An Individual's Homeland' In these three essays the author dwells on varied tropes of writer's life as a migrant Almost all the writers books that are discussed somehow defend justify the role of a writer as an migrant; its importance what this can do and what are the challenges involved in such a position; both personal as well as professional– especially in relation to writer's art Though the book is concise it does touch upon these key issues and discusses authors such as Naipaul Rushdie Nabokov Conrad Solzhenitsyn and so forthThe writer in unfamiliar lands often struggles with language and content– in which language to write and what should be the material The writer is expected to follow some established patterns– but it is difficult for the migrant writer to do so It is his very situation that makes his struggle with writing uniue Oftentimes he has to face some real and imagined accusations on his artFor example Conrad is cited as an ideal example There was no writer before Conrad who was like Conrad who destroyed the myth that one could not 'really' 'write in a language that one did not grow up in So Conrad's example is great as it is empowering and non essentialist Another important stereotype about immigrant writers is that they cannot be really playful in their adopted language While this might be true but there are many shiny examples that indicate the opposite Nabokov has so successfully demonstrated what a serious writer can do He not only did it but he set an impossible benchmark even for the native writers to reachOf course language does pose a great many challenges for writers writing in other languages However writing itself does not become easier when done in one's native language It still reuires discipline and immense struggle; this aspect definitely makes the struggle for immigrant writers even arduous Clearly such a position of the writer being in exile comes with its very specific challenges but it could also open other doors other ways of looking at language home and the self Something vital gets lost and but something precious can also be gained The book in some ways celebrates the act that there is a whole tradition of migrant writers at least in Anglophone literature; there is no need for writers who find themselves in such spaces to despair


  2. says:

    These are three essays on the notion of migration for the writer mostly explained through other writers such as Nabokov Conrad Kundera and NaipaulIn the first essay The Spokesman the Tribe Jin explores the balance between the individual and the collective and asks to what extent a writer can 'speak for' his nation or people especially if he has abandoned them to live in a new country I was interested in his initial desire as a young writer to write on behalf of the downtrodden Chinese He makes it clear that he later abandoned this position but I would have liked to know about how and whyIn fact throughout the whole book I would have liked to know about Ha Jin's thoughts on migration His journey after all was an interesting one from an uneducated teenage soldier in the Chinese army during the Cultural Revolution to a professor at Boston University and author of five novels a couple of which I've read and greatly enjoyed I would have liked him to draw on his own experience of migration but he does so only rarely in small glimpses like the one mentioned above Mostly what we have is a survey of other writers and their thoughts on migration uite interesting but for me ultimately unsatisfying because there was no clear overall argument or point of view to draw the whole thing togetherIn any case it was interesting to learn about Solzhenitsyn's life in America how he lived in rural Vermont but never really settled never took citizenship was always waiting to go back to Russia After the fall of the Soviet Union he got his chance but the interesting thing was that after moving back home he struggled to speak effectively on behalf of the new Russia as he had spoken on behalf of the old while in exile His later books Russia in Collapse 1998 and Two Hundred Years Together 2001 were coldly received and he was seen as out of touch Even his radio show was cancelled due to low ratings Ha Jin's point is that he was loved for his earlier masterpieces but even that did not give him the right to speak on behalf of the people when his views no longer matched theirs they rejected himThe second essay The Language of Betrayal deals with the decision to write in another language Again Jin does not speak of his own decision to write in English and whether he feels this is a betrayal instead we hear about Joseph Conrad being criticised for abandoning the Polish language and Nabokov's difficulty writing poetry in English even though he was a master of proseAn Individual's Homeland explores the difficulty of returning home the way that Odysseus initially didn't recognise Ithaka when he returned after his twenty years of exile because both he and the land itself had changed As Jin says One cannot return to the same land as the same person He talks of using art to survive as the character Max Ferber does in WG Sebald's book The Emigrants He ends by referring to the Greek poet CP Cavafy who positions 'Ithaka' as a destination for life's journey but not necessarily a return to the homeland The homeland becomes a part of the past that can be used to facilitate our journeysAs you'd expect from an English professor the analysis of writers and books here is astute and interesting I just got the feeling sometimes that he was talking about other writers to avoid talking about himself Using literary examples is a good idea but I'd have preferred them to be used to support a clearer argument from Ha Jin himself drawing on his own experiences to give us his uniue original perspective instead of a summary of other people's


  3. says:

    I must admit that reading this book gave me a somewhat melancholy feeling as someone who has long written and lived with a certain sense of estrangement from my roots 1  This experience is surely not uniue as the author manages to discuss a great many people who managed to write and write very well despite being cut off from their native roots from Dante to Nabokov and from Joseph Conrad to VS Naipal all of which are writers I am familiar with and generally fond of  The experience of being an exile carries with it a certain tension about where we belong and who our audience is and whether it is best to write in our native language or to accommodate ourselves to the language of where we happen to be  In my own experience as a native speaker and writer of English and as someone who started learning Spanish very young as well I am perfectly content to write in both languages although I greatly prefer to write in English  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have as their native languages major languages though and face a deeper problem as they seek to live as writers in the midst of the problems of being cut off from one's homelandThis short book of less than 100 pages is made up of three essays from the author on the problem of the writer as an exile  After a short preface the author begins his discussion with a thoughtful examination of the spokesman and the tribe pointing out that the writer as an exile faces a difficult problem in seeking to speak for a people he no longer lives around for to abandon one's citizenship or one's native language makes it very difficult to maintain credibility as a spokesmen for one's native people a problem that Joseph Conrad faced being a writer in English despite being a native Pole but one that was better navigated for example by Solzhenitsyn who despite his mistreatment ended up maintaining his credibility with the Russian people as a spokesman  The second essay takes up the theme of the language of betrayal again focusing on Joseph Conrad and writers who sought not entirely successfully to distinguish themselves from him as people who wrote literature in English as a second language  The third and final essay looks at the nature of an individuals homeland through a discussion of Odysseus' Ithaca and its various meanings and implications in contemporary poetry and literature  Throughout the author manages to strike a delicate balance between the individual and the collective while pointing out that while a writer cannot help but be moral there are strong limitations as to the sort of moral change that writers can promote through their writingsWhat is it that made me sad to read these essays?  For one the author himself is an exile a native Chinese writer who had been a part of the PLA but who managed to become a professor at Boston University as well as a successful writer of Chinese literature by no means a popular genre of literature in the mainstream American market  The author's own personal experiences and my own experiences as an exile give this book a poignancy that shows the sense of loss that results from having to make one's way among strangers who do not understand us  The author's discussion for example of the tragic eponymous hero of Nabokov's Pnin and the way that he is continually misunderstood by others is something that strikes a deep chord with me personally  I found myself in reading these essays a sense of kinship with those who wrote of the desire to find home and the tension between doing what is best for oneself and also seeking the support and encouragement of others without which writing is not of any profit and of precious little enjoyment  Perhaps we may not be alone in being alone though and if we are far from home and caught between hopes for the future and looking back to the past certainly there are others we can relate to and that makes the journey a less lonely one1 See for example


  4. says:

    Who knew Ha Jin taught at BU? The little coincidencesno cohesive review here just choice comments I love that he uotes Rushdie 'Roots I sometimes think are a conservative myth designed to keep us in places' I love how he discusses the dangers of nostalgia 'At the same time the beauty and subtlety of the word Ithaka resides in its mythological resonance which evokes something in the past of the traveler's origin something that has shaped his imagined destination Although he finally reaches Ithaka his arrival cannot be completely separated from his point of departure because his journey was affected by the vision of a legendary city whose historical and cultural significance constitutes part of his heritage In this defining nature of the traveler's journey we may reverse the beginning line of East Coker in TS Eliot's Four uartets without violating its logic In my end is my beginning' In these moments we see how intertwined the exiled writer is with his state of being which refutes Flannery O'Conner's assertion that all good written art should and is crafted separate from the personality and attributes of the author While one can appreciate a finely crafted piece of art it does not resonate with the individual if they cannot connect with the creator Perhaps I just love it because I love books by writers about writing Welty Maugham but then again Rushdie Eliot and Ha Jin what's not to love?


  5. says:

    A very interesting book about the writing of writers who left their native countries and in different ways managed to exist in their adopted ones How much do they want to come back to their home countries? And what is home by the way? To what extent do they feel they belong to the countries where they were born and to what extent do they feel they belong to the countries where they live? How do they define themselves and their writing between their present and the past that never goes away? What languages do they employ for their writing why and how does it affect their writing? In less than 100 pages Ha Jin who is a writer in exile himself gives his answers to these and other uestions unveiling some hidden layers of the lives and writing of some well know authors such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Lin Yutang Vladimir Nabokov Joseph Conrad Shiva Naipaul and Milan Kundera Beautiful and poetic analyses in story telling style He makes me want to try reading all of the writers he mentions in this book and himself as well An easy to read for every average reader without having to know anything about famous writers and the art of writing


  6. says:

    Ha Jin has become the Chinese writer Americans look to to Know Stuff About China supplanting Chinese American writers like say Amy Tan but he speakswrites rather convincingly against this notion in this book's first essay Citing Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Lin Yutang he argues that actually attempts by writers to be socially engaged or to be a spokesman for their people are ultimately useless The writer should enter history mainly through the avenue of his artIn the end the book manages to be Ha Jin's explanation of his own work without ever claiming to be so In explicating the authors who inspired him he gets to the heart of why he does what he does and what is gained and lost when a writer leaves his homeland and mother tongue Worth reading even if you are not familiar with his work though


  7. says:

    A bit heavy if you're not a big literature buff Ha Jin draws on VS Naipaul Nabokov Joyce and a number of other names to make observations about writing from abroad and writing in a language that is not your native tongue My favorite passage has to be when he rebuts the idea that becoming a writer in another language limits you only to being a writer that can be understood not playful as he draws on examples that prove otherwise and demonstrate the uniue position exile or expat writers hold in regard to language Not a long certainly thought provoking when it comes to language identity and movement though the title probably tells you that


  8. says:

    Some intriguing ideas I find the second essay the most interesting and useful while the first is for me annoyingly judgmental too many generalized should and must formulations The third convinced me to read The Odyssey at long lastUnfortunately the book is filled with grammatical issues infelicitous phrasings punctuation errors and other disturbing distractions Shame on you for your carelessness here U of Chicago Press


  9. says:

    highly intelligent nuanced esp thoughts on humor in your second language


  10. says:

    Why write in the second language and how well can one achieve by writing in the second language