"Struggles with Identity Don't Care about the Latitude": Saša Stanišić's Herkunft (Where You Come From) as "Born Translated" text

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Saša Stanišić’s autobiographical text Herkunft (2019; Where You Come From, 2021), winner of the German Book Prize in 2019, offers an innovative way of writing about migration. Although Stanišić does trace his origins in Bosnia in his text (as the title initially suggests), its complexity invites readers to think well beyond categories of “here” and “there,” “native” and “migrant,” “reality” and “fiction.” Thus Rebecca L. Walkowitz’s concept of texts being “born translated” is of particular relevance in my reading of Herkunft. By critically engaging with history, including the meaning of memory (or losing memory), notions of migration, arrival, belonging, and language in today’s transnational context, Stanišić’s text appears to “engage […] in a project of unforgetting,” the re-evaluation and re-organization of (national) literary history that marks born-translated fiction (2015: 23). Yet Herkunft is also literally a “born translated” text: written in German, it consciously reflects language and the process of writing, not least as language is his, the writer’s, primary tool. Ultimately, it is the invitation to his readers to actively take part in the exploration of his, as well as his text’s, origins that enables Stanišić to question “the national singularity” (Walkowitz 2015: 25) of his, and any, work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of European Migration in Literature and Culture
EditorsCharlotte Sussman, Corina Stan
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages325-338
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9783031307843, 9783031307867
ISBN (Print)9783031307836
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Stanišić
  • Walkowitz
  • “Born translated” text
  • migration narrative
  • language

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '"Struggles with Identity Don't Care about the Latitude": Saša Stanišić's Herkunft (Where You Come From) as "Born Translated" text'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this