Journeys into the Night

Othering Figures, Figurations of Otherness

  • Mara Lee Gerdén
Keywords: poetic language, othering, tropes, Street Haunting, flâneur, night, journey, train seat, bus seat, Claudia Rankine, Sara Ahmed, embodied language, racism


This essay attempts to bring up to discussion how processes of othering may be enacted within gurative language use. e tropes that will be examined are a few examples of “the night” and “the journey,” and how they may take on different meanings depending on how, and by whom, they are embodied. En­ twining literary texts with cultural and postcolonial theory, this essay whishes to complicate the idea of the night in the Virginia Woolf essay Street Haunting, whose female protagonist steps into the role of the flâneur for one night – a night that traditionally is coded as a feminine entity for a male âneur to excavate. My question is: How does nocturnal meaning transform, and into what or whom will it transform when the subject conquering the supposedly feminine night, is coded as feminine just as well? Furthermore, this essay wishes to complicate the notion of the “journey” by turning to Frantz Fanon, Audre Lorde, and Claudia Rankine; all of whom – despite their di erences – share one common thing: ey have written about the journey in terms of metonymical, gurative language, namely the train seat. e aim of this essay is to shed light on and interpret these ndings, adopting a critical, queer reading that to a certain extent unlearns the conventional content of these tropes. Instead, the endeavor of this essay is to trace more obscured and forgotten connections and paths that hopefully may indicate how some of our most common literary tropes are imbued with both a racialized and gendered meaning, which bespeaks the need for inventing new tropes. 



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How to Cite
Gerdén, M. L. (2018). Journeys into the Night: Othering Figures, Figurations of Otherness. Lambda Nordica, 23(1-2), 167-181. Retrieved from