Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This dissertation uses the life writing and fiction of Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce to challenge the mythic construction of the autonomous modernist subject through the lens of expatriation. I use the expatriate as a paradigmatic figure of modernism to scrutinize common perceptions of modernist expatriation as a dissociation with tradition and national politics. Instead, this project positions modernism as a movement deeply enmeshed in celebrity culture and the cooptation of foreign spaces. I employ a spatial mode of reading expatriate fiction through which the physical sites of expatriation become symbols of expatriate values and identity in conflict with local cultures. This methodology exposes the exploitation inherent in high modernist expatriation as a practice and challenges popular understandings of modernist expatriation as a liberatory movement. The project begins in Chapter 1 with an analysis of Paris as the paradigmatic space of expatriate modernism through Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. I argue that the spatial representations in both texts encouraged contemporary readers to view Paris through a largely American lens and lead to the construction and commodification of the expatriate myth by transatlantic tourists. In Chapter Two, I extend the conversation of tourism into Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls to offer a rereading of both texts as tourist narratives centered around the personal development of the expatriate protagonists. Finally, in Chapter 3, I use Joyce’s representations of Ireland to illustrate how his depictions of the space become progressively more fragmented and telescopic across the increasing distance of exile, demonstrating a rejection of the colonial space by rendering it unknowable. I conclude with a brief consideration of the cultural implications of modernist narratives of expatriation through a close reading of twenty-first-century tourist sites that draw on the myth of modernist expatriation. I argue that by extending the spatial methodology to twenty-first-century byproducts of modernism, we can see how early twentieth-century notions of expatriation have permanently altered our perspective on globalism and the “foreign” spaces of Western Europe.