All the Exiles оf Irène Némirovsky
Keywords:Irina Nemirovska, exile, nostalgia, homeland, lack of belonging
The success of the novel Suite francaise has again sparked interest for the opus of Irène Némirovsky, an author who wrote during the interwar period and produced around twenty novels and several collections of novellas. The life of Irène Némirovsky (Ирма Ирина Леонидовна Немировская, 1903-1942), a Russian Jew who lived as a stateless immigrant since the Russian Revolution until her tragic death in Auschwitz, has also attracted a lot of public interest. In this paper, our focus is first on the circumstances in which Nemirovska lived and wrote, as they had an essential impact on her fate and the themes that underlie much of her work. After that overview of the work of Irène Némirovsky, the analysis in this paper focuses on the novels in which the themes of exile, nostalgia and lack of belonging are evident, such as David Golder (David Golder, 1929), Snow in Autumn (Les Mouches d’automne, 1931), The Wine of Solitude (Le Vin de solitude, 1935) and The Dogs and the Wolves (Les Chiens et les Loups, 1940).The theoretical basis for our analysis is found in the study The Future of Nostalgia by Svetlana Boym. In this study, Boym distinguishes between the two main subtypes of nostalgia: restorative and reflective and she identifies their characteristics. The analysis of the main characters’ actions and feelings in the afore mentioned Nemirovska’s novels show that reflective nostalgia is predominant in them; the characters show contradictory tendencies: on the one hand to fit in and integrate into the society, while on the other they are dominated by anxiety, sorrow and feelings of displacement and lack of belonging.
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