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The Grammar of IdentityTransnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary$
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Stephen Clingman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278497

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278497.001.0001

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The Grammar of Identity

(p.1) Introduction
The Grammar of Identity

Stephen Clingman

Oxford University Press

The contemporary world presents us with the reality of globalization and multiplicity, yet we still face powerful appeals to singularity. Beyond vague notions such as hybridity and multiculturalism, can we fashion alternative versions of location and identity? In this context the Introduction considers transnational fiction as a question of form, outlining the idea of a ‘grammar of identity’, and exploring its key terms: the metonymic, the generative, the transitive, the navigational, the nature of the boundary. In doing so, it draws on figures such as Chomsky, Jakobson, Freud, and Levinas. The implications for such a theory are set out in areas ranging from migration, to myth, to psychology, to ethics, to fiction itself. The discussion sets out the case for seeing transnational fiction as intrinsically navigational, a form of great significance for our times.

Keywords:   Chomsky, Freud, generative grammar, grammar of identity, Jakobson, Levinas, metonymy, nature of the boundary, navigation, transnational fiction

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