In Transcultural Writers and Novels in the Age of Global Mobility (Purdue UP, 2015), Arianna Dagnino analyzes a new type of literature emerging from artists’ increased mobility and cultural flows spawned by globalization. This “transcultural” literature is produced by authors who write across cultural and national boundaries and who transcend in their lives and creative production the borders of a single culture. Dagnino’s book contains a creative rendition of interviews conducted with five internationally renowned writers: Inez Baranay, Brian Castro, Alberto Manguel, Tim Parks, and Ilija Trojanow and a critical exegesis reflecting on thematical, critical, and stylistical aspects. (The creative nonfiction, originally titled “The Istanbul Quintet,” has been self-translated by Dagnino from Italian into English).
By studying the selected authors’ corpus of work, life experiences, and cultural orientations, Dagnino explores the implicit, often subconscious, process of cultural and imaginative metamorphosis that leads transcultural writers and their fictionalized characters beyond ethnic, national, race, or religious loci of identity and identity formation. Drawing on the theoretical framework of comparative cultural studies, she offers insight into transcultural writing related to belonging, hybridity, cultural errancy, the “Other,” worldviews, translingualism, deterritorialization, neonomadism, as well as genre, thematic patterns, and narrative techniques. Dagnino also outlines the implications of transcultural writing within the wider context of world literature(s) and identifies some of the main traits which characterize “transcultural novels.”
“Starting from the idea that we live in an age of increasing interconnectedness, the book focuses on the biographical experiences and literary outputs of a group of culturally mobile writers it defines as transcultural. The text combines a wide-ranging and systematic theoretical approach to transcultural literature with a section in which the author recounts imaginatively the in-depth interviews she had with five authors. The work is a significant contribution to scholarship for it increases our theoretical awareness of today’s literary developments, providing us with critical tools that enable us to approach literary texts with an innovative perspective.” Maurizio Ascari, Università di Bologna