Publication details [#6411]

Jordan, Jim. 2006. More than a metaphor: The passing of the two worlds paradigm in German-language diasporic literature. German life and letters 59 (4) : 488–499. 12 pp.


German-language diasporic literature published during the period from the late 1970s to the early 1990s frequently deploys images, metaphors and motifs depicting the migrant as suspended, trapped or stranded between two worlds. I briefly outline this phenomenon and the criticism it has been subjected to in recently published research, which emphasises the regressive effect which the persistence of this metaphor has had. The passing of the `two worlds paradigm' marks a transition in the development of diasporic writing, making it an apposite time to achieve an understanding of this paradigm as more than merely an impediment to a more differentiated appreciation of the literature of migration. I therefore explore this paradigm in relation to debates concerning multiculturalism during the 1980s and early 1990s. In conclusion, I examine how a paradigm voluntarily adopted by diasporic writers as representative of their situation at that time has endured to become an outdated characterisation of all migrant writing. (Jim Jordan)