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The Global and the IntimateFeminism in Our Time$
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Victoria Rosner and Geraldine Pratt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231154499

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231154499.001.0001

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Objects of Return

Objects of Return

(p.145) 6 Objects of Return
The Global and the Intimate

Marianne Hirsch

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the incongruities, implausibilities, and impossibilities, as well as the fractured shapes characterizing the impulse to return and its narrative and visual enactments, by reading Lily Brett's 1999 novel, Too Many Men alongside Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani's 1969 novella Return to Haifa and the Eurydice series of Israeli visual artist Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger. All three works enable us to look, in particular, at the role that objects (photographs, domestic interiors, household objects, items of clothing) play in return stories, marking their sites of implausibility and incommensurability. Read together, they stage the impulse to return as a fractured encounter between generations, between cultures, and between mutually imbricated histories occurring in a layered present. In focusing on the emblematic figure of the lost child, these works also expose the deepest layers of the contradictory psychology of return and the depths of dispossession that reach beyond specific historical circumstances.

Keywords:   return, Lily Brett, Too Many Men, Ghassan Kanafani, Return to Haifa, Eurydice, Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger, objects, lost child, dispossession

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