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Brev till min dotter: Theodor Kallifatides' palimpsest
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2013 (Swedish)In: Nya Argus, ISSN 0027-7126, Vol. 106, no 4, 118-122 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This essay is a critical review of the Swedish writer, Theodore Kallifatides' novel Brev till min dotter (2012) ('Letters to My Daughter'). It is formatted, thematically and inspirationally, by Ovid's two works Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, written while in exile in Tomis (today's Constanța) on the Black Sea. I have organized Kallifatides' fictive narrative of his pre-Junta (1964) emigration from Greece (where he was born), his multilevelled refashioning of the source material, into a palimpsest that contains three rhetoric layers: the epistle, the autobiography, and the pamphlet.

The first depicts the slow transition of 'Ovid', the presumptive Roman imperialist and colonialist, into the less self-centered icon of the Ars Amatoria fame and the more accommadating listener to the people around him. In the second, I show how 'Ovid' is merging into the persona of Kallifatides, a migrant who voluptuously absorbs his new language (Swedish). A language that he masters with the innovatory skill of the best postcolonial writer. The third constitutes a universal praise song of freedom of speech and gender equality. Ovid, in Kallifatides portrait, is feminized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsingfors, 2013. Vol. 106, no 4, 118-122 p.
Keyword [en]
palimpsest, Ovid, Kallifatides, exile, self-writing
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-68443OAI: diva2:620267
Available from: 2013-05-08 Created: 2013-04-19 Last updated: 2013-05-15Bibliographically approved

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