The lost comedian (a novel) & beyond the latticed view: translating self, memory and place in a second language (exegesis)
thesisposted on 18.05.2017 by Evangelista, Elin-Maria Christina
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
The thesis consists of two parts, a creative component and an accompanying exegesis. My novel, The Lost Comedian, explores a young girl’s struggle to find her own moral compass through a religious crisis, her relationships with her peers and with adults in positions of power. It is mainly set in Sweden in the 1960s and 70s, but also moves back to the 1930s. By the time of her father’s death, the protagonist, Christina, is living a modest life in bay-side Melbourne. She returns to Sweden from Australia for her father’s funeral, and is confronted with her past and memories of growing up in the religious community of Svenstorp. The novel entwines two themes: 1) Christina’s development from a child with a strong sense of belonging and identity as a “Believer” to a teenage rebel, and the consequences of her rebellion; 2) Christina’s recovery from a secret, deeply personal loss that she has encountered in Melbourne, and the ever-present temptations of surrendering to a sense of guilt, punishment and self-destruction as a consequence of the “pagan” way of life to which she surrendered as a teenager in Sweden. The exegesis, “Beyond the Latticed View: Translating Self, Memory and Place in a Second Language,” focuses on the linguistic and cultural translation processes when writing in a second language. Investigating gains and losses of this translation process, the exegesis explores the prospect of a “new” sense of self emerging in the “new” language. Specific Swedish social, literary and cultural influences that inform the novel are discussed in the context of its setting. The exegesis also examines the cultural translation processes that these influences instigate, and how writing from both a spatial and temporal distance when “translating” the past influences the novel. As well, practical translation issues when writing from an “other” culture and language are explored. While reflecting on the many challenges when writing in translation, the exegesis argues that translating “self, memory and place,” ultimately creates a richly rewarding narrative.