Narrating Gypsies Telling Travellers
: A Study of the Relational Self in Four Life Stories
Skrifter från moderna språk, no. 22
To say that Gypsy and/or Traveller and/or Romany life stories have existed on the periphery of literary studies can be considered an understatement. In this study of the relational self, Narrating Gypsies, Telling Travellers, examines the discursive and structural complexities involved in the practices of writing and speaking in the production process and narrative trajectories of the life stories of Gordon Sylvester Boswell (1970), Nan Joyce (1985), Jimmy Stockins (2000), and Jess Smith (2002 and 2003). The study emphasizes relational aspects of self-construction, which includes links to the national (hi)stories of Scotland, Ireland and England. Beginning with an eighteenth-century scaffold confession and moving through colonial narratives, the study follows a discursive path that re-emerges and reverberates in the spoken and/or written words of the life story narrators. The study problematizes the effectiveness of resistance as the historical depth and relationally produced dual-nature of domination is analysed. Above all the study positions modes of domination and self-domination within processes of forgetting forged through consensual, subtle and coercive practices related to points of view and the taken-for-granted.