Cancelled! - Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains: World Literature as Transnational Border Critique
Published by Picador Australia in 2018, Behrouz Boochani’s novel No Friend but the Mountainshas in the meantime found its way to a broad international audience, both in English and in translation. Written while Boochani was illegally detained in Manus detention centre, the novel was originally composed in Farsi in a series of text messages and was subsequently translated into English and published by a network of collaborators on the Australian mainland. As such, the novel presents itself as an activist performance that actively resists the censorship, detention and suppression at the core of Australia’s border industrial complex. This activist performance, moreover, extends to the novel’s stylistic and narratological techniques and, ultimately, to Boochani’s international interventions as journalist and academic across the globe. In this talk, I argue that Boochani’s novel should be considered as a form of World Literature that is inherently activist and critical in that it performatively challenges national border regimes from an intricately transnational position.
KU Leuven, Belgium
Tom Toremans is Associate Professor of English Literature and Literary Translation at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He teaches courses on literary theory, English and European literature, and literary translation. He is currently director of the Centre for Reception Studies and head of the Leuven Research Group English literature. His research interests include British Romanticism, refugee writing, Scottish literature, critical theory, and translation and reception studies. He has co-edited special issues on “Waterloo and British Romanticism” (Studies in Romanticism, with Philip Shaw), “Pseudotranslation” (Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, with Beatrijs Vanacker), “Literature and Economics in Nineteenth-Century Germany and Britain” (Victoriographies, with Ortwin de Graef), "Thomas Carlyle and the Totalitarian Temptation" (Studies in the Literary Imagination, with Tamara Gosta), and on “Translating Testimony” (Testimony Between History and Memory, with Anneleen Spiessens). He has published in journals such as Contemporary Literature, Essays in Romanticism, The European Journal of English Studies, The Oxford Literary Review, Studies in the Literary Imagination, and World Literature Today.