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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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Vertical and Horizontal

Vertical and Horizontal

Charlotte Brontë, Jean Rhys, and Anne Michaels

(p.134) 4 Vertical and Horizontal
The Grammar of Identity

Stephen Clingman

Oxford University Press

What happens when possibilities of metonymy, contiguity, transition, navigation, are blocked? The chapter takes on these issues, key to a grammar of identity. At the core is a paradigmatic matrix of the horizontal and vertical. If the horizontal involves the possibility of navigation, when that is prevented the result is vertical alignments of repression, substitution, sacrifice. Similarly, where repression, substitution, sacrifice exist, horizontal connection is either prevented or permitted only in pathological forms. But where trauma or damage has produced sacrifice, opening up horizontal boundaries admits healing, navigation, connection. These patterns are explored in three emblematic novels: Brontë's Jane Eyre, Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, and Michaels's Fugitive Pieces. Along the way we understand much: Freud's délire du toucher in a new frame; geographies of the self; how the repression of the transnational is what allows the national to be sustained.

Keywords:   Brontë, Freud, geography of the self, horizontal and vertical, metonymy, Michaels, national and transnational, Rhys, sacrifice

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