Critical Insights: American Writers in Exile examines the nature and significance of exile for a number of well-known American writers over the last two centuries. Writers profiled and analyzed in this volume include Henry James, Ezra Pound, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and members of the "Lost Generation" such as Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and T.S. Eliot.
"Exile" is not a condition or a state that can be simply or airily defined, nor can its influence on any particular author be easily understood or casually dismissed. Rather it is often a transitional state, even if it appears more or less permanent to the impartial outside observer. Even the writer him or herself may misjudge the nature and extent of its impact. Many exiled writers leave their home country only to spend the balance of their professional lives remembering and recording impressionistic sketches of the nation and culture they have "left behind." The condition of exile-seemingly so easy to achieve in this age of supersonic international flight-turns out to be a somewhat nebulous state of being. Indeed, it may be a matter of becoming, in a certain sense, a matter of existing in a nearly permanent liminality, rather than achievement of some finite, definitive end state.
This title is divided into 3 sections:
- Four, broad-based "Critical Contexts" essays
- "Critical Readings" essays are more targeted to specific authors and their works that fit the theme of this title
- Additional resources including 'Additional Works by American Writers in Exile,' 'Bibliography,' 'About the Editors,' and more.
Each essay is 2,500 to 5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes.