Figurations of Exile in Hitchcock and Nabokov

Figurations of Exile in Hitchcock and Nabokov

Figurations of Exile in Hitchcock and Nabokov

Figurations of Exile in Hitchcock and Nabokov

Synopsis

This comparative study of Alfred Hitchcock and Vladimir Nabokov opens up their work to issues of exile and migration. Questions about the contingencies of history and the rupture of the real are rarely brought to bear on these self-reflexive texts. Barbara Straumann responds to this critical gap by reading real-life exile as the "absent cause" of Hitchcock and Nabokov's brilliant virtuosity. Her "cross-mapping" of the two seemingly disparate authors takes as its point of departure the conditions of exile in which they found themselves and shows how the relentless playfulness of their language and irony creates a new home in the world of signs.

Straumann closely reads Speak, Memory, Lolita, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Suspicion, North by Northwest, and Shadow of a Doubt, exploring the connections between language, imagination, and exile. The book will appeal to those interested in Nabokov, Hitchcock, Freud, Lacan, cultural theory, media, and exile.

Excerpt

Thanks are owed first and foremost to Elisabeth Bronfen, who kept insisting that I continue my work on the doctoral thesis which this book is based on. Not just a dissertation advisor, she has been a very important intellectual friend and definitely the best teacher I have ever had. in the process of research and writing, several other people also helped with critical advice and suggestions. Joan Copjec’s seminars and ideas were extremely stimulating and proved most fruitful. Hanjo Berressem encouraged me with his astute comments to both expand and sharpen the argument as well as to show more verbal wit in the way I put things. For their generous and informed responses to preliminary papers, I also wish to thank Cathy Caruth, Aleida Assmann, Gabi Rippl and Renate Hof. For critical comments and readings that helped shape my manuscript, my thanks go to Martin Heusser, Christina Ljungberg, Benno Straumann, Tobias Weber, Daniela Janser and Anna-Katharina Straumann. Moreover, I am grateful for invaluable backing and encouragement from a number of other colleagues, friends, relatives and family members. To my partner Balz Bruder, I give my thanks for his ironic humour and his untiring support in all the stages of this project. Much of the work on my dissertation was done during a seven-month period spent as a visiting scholar at suny Buffalo and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation; I would like to extend my thanks to the Foundation for awarding me a generous research grant. Finally I wish to express my deep gratitude to Jackie Jones at Edinburgh University Press, who immediately understood the critical project of this book and who ultimately made it happen.

Barbara Straumann . . .

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