Language and Identity: Catherine Temma Davidson´s The Priest Fainted (1998)

Jaroslav Kušnír, Slovakia, ID CLEaR2016-398;         Despite there has been a considerable academic interest in ethnic writing for a couple of decades, with the exception of perhaps Jeffrey Eugenides,  Greek-American writing has not become a significant field of academic studies. In 1998, Catherine Temma Davidson, a Greek-American author, published a novel, The Priest Fainted,  in a form of vignettes.  Through the use of both these vignettes and re-writing of the Greek myths such as, for example, Orpheus and Eurydice, she does not only recover both her mother and grandmother’s stories, but also a position of both women and Greeks in contemporary American society. In the novel, the relation between the dominant and marginal represented by men-women, Greek-American-Jewish, and Old vs the New World relations  is central in Temma Davidson´s novel. This  paper will analyze the way Davidson´s use of language depicts a problematic position of the dominant and marginal as manifested through her depiction of Greek culture as central (for the world culture) in the past but marginal at present. At the same time, this paper will analyze various ways Davidson´s language refering to Greek culture and its myths expresses both Greek and female identity as confronted with contemporary cultural experience of the modern world represented by the USA.

Key words: Greek-American literature, identity, myth, ethnic writing, postmodernism, cultural experience

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