The phenomenon of the intellectual emigrant, expatriate, and refugee is nothing new. The present volume is an anthology of 53 essays describing the experience of exile from the viewpoints of a diversity of writers. These are grouped in sections, e.g., "Definitions," "Allegiances," "Lessons and Opportunities." The problem with this volume is that it is tedious to read from cover to cover; readers will not have the same degree of interest in every writer or culture represented. The essays are variations on the same theme, yet they are all very personal statements. Thus, any effort to classify or group them falls short. Many authors (i.e., Victor Hugo, Seneca, Thomas Mann) are already well represented in library collections. The book will have a limited audience of scholars interested in literary biography; a marginal purchase for most libraries.
Lesley Jorbin, Cleveland State Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Writers are certainly among the more high-profile individuals who either choose to leave or often are exiled from their homeland. An important part of Robinson's personal history included parents and grandparents who had been uprooted; thus, his own curiosity was piqued to explore the thoughts and views of literary expatriates and emigres to foreign quarters. Gathering together selected writings, Robinson presents an illustrious group of writers, each of whom is involved in defining the state of being an exile. At the same time, many pose questions of allegiance, reflect on lessons to be learned, and explore the solitary condition. This rich feast should satisfy the hunger for a glimpse into the innermost musings of great minds, from writers as diverse as James Baldwin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ruth Prawer Jihabvala and Hannah Arendt. Alice Joyce
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