Life in a box: gender, migration and language in the bilingual archive of Truus van Bruinessen, a Dutch-Canadian housewife of the 1950s

Lauret, Maria (2016) Life in a box: gender, migration and language in the bilingual archive of Truus van Bruinessen, a Dutch-Canadian housewife of the 1950s. Journal for Gender Studies / Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies, 19 (3). pp. 301-320. ISSN 1388-3186

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Abstract

Unpublished and undistributed, Truus van Bruinessen’s collection of life-writings in Dutch (journal, letters, and travel writing) and English (memoir) only exists in a box in Canada’s National Archives. It documents its author’s migration to Canada and her domestic travails as a housewife of the 1950s, which include her lack of access to English. The archive provides a unique opportunity for the study of gender and language shift in adult migrants’ life-writing. Comparative analysis of van Bruinessen’s skilful and highly gendered use of the epistolary form in Dutch on one hand, and of her memoir in imperfect and belatedly acquired English on the other, reveals interesting differences in style, tone and content. Such analysis shows how a woman’s migrant subjectivity, originally constituted in Dutch, could not adequately be represented in English, as a talented writer’s mother tongue was twisted in (self-) translation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: van Bruinessen, Dutch-Canadian migration, Life-writing genres, Immigrant women’s writing, (Self-)translation, Bilingual archive
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > American Studies
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Maria Lauret
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 13:42
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 04:57
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/62106

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