The Wounds of Refugeeism in Ananda Devi's Ceux du large [Afloat]

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Author: Brinda Mehta
Date: Fall 2020
From: Research in African Literatures(Vol. 51, Issue 3)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 8,950 words

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Abstract :

Ananda Devi's latest collection of poetry, Ceux du large [Afloat], is an attempt to humanize those who are subjected to the inhuman condition of "refugeeism," the fraught positionality of being a stateless and anonymous refugee. I discuss the ways in which Devi's poetry uncovers the wounds of refugeeism through searing verse, bitter irony, and a scathing critique of Europe's intolerance to difference. I argue that refugeeism is a biting wound that results from forced migration and displacement. This primordial wound takes many forms in Devi's poetry--traumatic affect as embodied in the act of crossing treacherous seas, wounded seascapes that bear the scars of death, the poet's wounded sensibilities when faced with the plight of the refugees, the violence of coloniality represented by Europe's border ethic, and the title itself. The leitmotif of the wound traverses my analysis to reveal the wound's physical, psychological, and geographical permutations in this poetic text. The wound represents a form of violent affect as highlighted in the essay's discussions on suffering, trauma, grievability, and inhospitality.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A653687464