Five College Women's Studies Research Center

Creating Dangerously: The Female Artist at Work

On Friday, February 24 at 1:00pm at the FCWSRC at 83 College Street on the Mount Holyoke College campus in South Hadley, Alicia Ellis, Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Hampshire College, will give a talk entitled “Creating Dangerously: The Female Artist at Work.” Albert Camus, in a speech delivered at the University of Uppsala in December 14, 1957, days before he accepted the Novel Prize, said:

"To create today is to create dangerously. Any publication is an act, and that act exposes one to the passions of an age that forgives nothing…The question, for all those who cannot live without art and what it signifies, is merely to find out how, among the police forces of so many ideologies…, the strange liberty of creation is possible. "

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to assess Danticat‘s Create Dangerously without gathering to oneself a series of disparate texts, authors, historical eras, political moments and small acts of memory for a text whose commitment to the intertextual is written into its title, its epigraph and its individual chapters. However, to read Edwidge Danticat's essays in Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (2010) requires us to revisit the singular stories in her novel, The Dew Breaker (2004).

Danticat‘s impetus for the historical and the political are fundamental components of her identity as a writer, an impulse which is both duty and desire - to excavate and illuminate those stories which have never been or could never be told - with dignity. What emerges from The Dew Breaker and Create Dangerously is a concretization of Danticat‘s diasporic philosophy, a composite of experiences, traditions, temporal spaces and geographic locations. It is a philosophy that is grounded in a plurality, a textual behavior that demonstrates an additive sensibility and a narrative practice that moves both centripetally and centrifugally. This talk will consider Danticat's work as a public intellectual in both her fiction and non-fiction.
(Ellis flyer)