My research project
Blurring Borders: Citizenship and Transculturalism in Post-war Female Émigré writers
My PhD thesis aims to explore a cast of self-exiles and émigrés, both in the form of literary characters and their respective creators. Focusing on how the issues of language, territory and nation inform the presentation of citizenship within and beyond the confines of literary texts, this research project will shine a new light on three female émigré writers: Patricia Highsmith, Doris Lessing, and Muriel Spark. Critical attention on these writers has tended to concentrate on how they exemplify or problematize literary categories such as postmodernism, crime fiction, or feminist writing, and position them in relation to specific national traditions. This project, by contrast, seeks to draw on recent developments in transnational literary studies by reframing them as transcultural activists shaped by ‘the transnational contexts of their own production, circulation, and study’ (Walkowitz, 536). Each writer’s career involves operating across national boundaries both in terms of settling in other countries – self-exiled from their birthplace – and in the transnational ‘flavour’ of the novels themselves.