Stephen F. Wolfe
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Some cunning passages in border-crossing narratives
Seen and unseen migrants
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The chapter shows how migrant writers from 1950 to 2013 have addressed their border-crossing into the city of London, their experience of migration within that city, and their ‘burden of representation’ of themselves in Britain and Europe at large. It focuses on displacement in border-crossing narratives, as well as on migrant writers’ use of aesthetic strategies peculiar to border narratives (e.g., threshold) and border figures (e.g., passage). The first section addresses the border-crossing narrative as a cultural expression for a community of ‘black writers and artists’ such as George Lamming, Sam Selvon, Caryl Phillips, and Hanif Kureishi. The second section focuses on the play Routes by the British playwright Rachel De-lahay by examining the aesthetic representation of ‘the British Isles’ in the shifting context of migration, borders and power that has emerged in the wake of the migrant crisis. The final section revisits the idea of the threshold to explore the migrant’s border-crossing into Europe, across the Mediterranean, and, following De Genova, argues for a need to create a ‘politics of presence’ where the migrant’s visibility and voice are accepted in the public sphere.

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Border images, border narratives

The political aesthetics of boundaries and crossings


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