Patrimony, Solitude and Obligation: Prodigal Sons and Absent Fathers
As a contribution to the verifiable moment that auto/biographical explorations of the father are undergoing in the first two decades of the 21st century, my paper focuses on four authors whose relational memoirs "go beyond the subject." In particular, I focus on a comparative analysis of three hybrid texts -Paul Auster's The Invention of Solitude (1982), Philip Roth's Patrimony (1991), and Richard Rodriguez's Days of Obligation: an Argument with my Mexican Father (1992)-, and I include a parallel reading of Dutch author Henri J. M. Nouwen's spiritual journey The Return of the Prodigal Son (1992). My transnational, transethnic reading of these very disparate versions of what has been called "patremoir" (Andre Gerard, 2012) or "patriography" (Couser, 2011) will explore how these authors mix their own portrait with the extended portrait of their (real or metaphoric) father, applying different myths, borrowing forms and strategies from literary antecedents, transgressing norms of familial secrecy and privacy, but -in the end- paying homage to their paternal legacy.
This article was submitted on December 15th 2013 and first published on November 26th.
Copyright (c) 2014 Isabel Duran Gimenez-Rico
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).