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Out of Exile

Some Thoughts on Exile as a Dynamic Condition

Eva Hoffman

Exile is a strong marker of identity for a writer, but to keep it forever as part of one's self-image surely involves a kind of mis-description, or at least over-simplification. Maintaining the position of being in exile also has its dangers: the posture of detachment can turn into a kind of wilful separation. Moreover migration, dislocation, various kinds of nomadism are becoming the norm, but this extreme mobility relativises even the most stable identities. What styles, or stories, or genres will be invented to describe a world which is no longer divided between peripheries and centres?

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Talking across Cultural Differences

Some Reflections Proceeding from Exile

Eva Hoffman

I am a woman and I am a writer; therefore, I am a woman writer. I do not disavow this, and I am sure that the basic given of femininity affects, in ways that are both accessible to me and unconscious, much of what I write. However, as I look back on my writing about issues of difference and Otherness—and as has sometimes been pointed out to me—I realise that the problematic of gender is, if not entirely absent from it, then rarely explicitly foregrounded or emphasised. I would like to reflect briefly on why this is so.