Year

2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Arts, English and Media

Abstract

This thesis focuses on a selection of newspaper crónicas published in the Spanish-language migrant press in Australia during the early to mid 1990s. Although published here for decades, crónicas are a form of multicultural writing that remain practically unknown to Australian literary scholarship. Crónicas are frequently written in a humorous style, offering a rich commentary on a variety of aspects of daily life. They voice the experiences and challenges faced by migrants as they adapt to the changed circumstances that accompany relocation.

My dissertation analyses columns by three Hispanic crónica writers, or cronistas: Clara Espinosa, Luis (Lucho) Abarca and Guillermo Hertz, (pseudonymously ‘Woggy Girl’, ‘Blady Woggie’ and ‘El Gato’, respectively). These texts are critiqued through the conceptual lens articulated by Anne Malena, who described migrants as “translated beings” in both literal and metaphorical senses. Through a close reading of the texts and interviews with the cronistas, the themes of language and identity, gender relations and belonging are examined. This study focuses on the role of crónica-writing in the migrant’s journey of translation into the host country and culture. Additionally, this study investigates what these cronistas have to say about the process whereby migrants are successful, or not, in ultimately achieving “translation”.

Self-translation is a constantly evolving process, prone to unpredictable setbacks and obstruction. By showcasing the rich legacy of crónica writing, I argue that this form of literary expression plays a significant role by offering migrant writers and their readers a supportive milieu through which to reconcile their experiences of loss and dislocation, while forging their new Australian identities.

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