Authorship, Orality, and Print Modernity: Representing the Roma in Colum McCann’s Zoli

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This article argues that Colum McCann’s Zoli (2006) is a complex reflection on the truth of art and representation, revealing a sense of profound ambivalence regarding the relationship between oral culture and textual modernity. Zoli, which is a novel about a Romani poet who creates literary works based on her communal oral culture, displays a sustained anxiety over the authorial ownership of texts. The article discusses how Zoli explores these issues through two main strategies: the formal construction of the novel through which McCann deflects and displaces the “original” voice of the Roma, and his fashioning of the body into a site where the tangibility of oral and print cultures become intertwined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-357
JournalCritique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction
Early online date13 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016


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