Unhomely Wests: Meditations in Critical Archaeology Stephen Tatum Th e alphabetical order erases everything, banishes every origin. . . . At certain moments the alphabet calls you to order (to disorder) and says: Cut! Resume the story in another way. . . . — Roland Barthes, Roland Barthes, 148 Notes (1) Cf. Donna Haraway: “Home: Women- headed households, serial monogamy, fl ight of men, old women alone, technology of domestic work, paid homework, reemergence of home sweat-shops, home- based businesses and telecommuting, electronic cottage, urban homelessness, migration, module architecture, reinforced (simulated) nuclear family, intense domestic violence” (“A Cyborg Manifesto” 170). (2) Besides the texts cited in these meditations, I am thinking here of prose works by Cormac McCarthy, Julie Otsuka, Willy Vlautin, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Sandra Cisneros. Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem represents a crucial forerunner to this archive of contemporary homeless literature. Th e writings of Meridel Le Seuer, Nelson Algren, John Steinbeck, John Dos Passos, and Carlos Bulosan also represent important literary precursors treating the intersecting themes of homeless vagabondage, labor history, class confl ict, and racial discrimination. H ome/less “Voy a ser uno de los ‘homeless,’” thinks Guatemalan refugee Antonio Bernal as he is evicted from his Los Angeles apartment at
Western American Literature – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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