Such is the miraculous nature of the future of exiles: what is first uttered in the impotence of an overheated apartment becomes the fate of nations.
—Salman Rushdie (b.1947) Indian-born British Novelist
It is a mistake to expect good work from expatriates for it is not what they do that matters but what they are not doing.
—Cyril Connolly (1903–74) British Literary Critic, Writer
I am an invisible man. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
—Ralph Ellison (1914–1994) American Novelist
I dunno what my 23 infantile years in America signify. I left as soon as motion was autarchic—I mean my motion.
—Ezra Pound (1885-1972) American Poet, Translator, Critic
The ideal place for me is the one in which it is most natural to live as a foreigner.
—Italo Calvino (1923–85) Italian Novelist, Essayist, Journalist
My first few weeks in America are always miserable, because the tastes I am cursed with are all of a kind that cannot be gratified here, and I am not enough in sympathy with our “gross public” to make up for the lack on the aesthetic side. One’s friends are delightful; but we are none of us Americans, we don’t think or feel as the Americans do, we are the wretched exotics produced in a European glass-house, the most displaced and useless class on earth!
—Edith Wharton (1862–1937) American Novelist, Short-story Writer
We make a mistake forsaking England and moving out into the periphery of life. After all, Taormina, Ceylon, Africa, America—as far as we go, they are only the negation of what we ourselves stand for and are: and we’re rather like Jonahs running away from the place we belong.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) English Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic
You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafes.
—Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) American Author, Journalist, Short Story Writer
When the Irishman is found outside of Ireland in another environment, he very often becomes a respected man. The economic and intellectual conditions that prevail in his own country do not permit the development of individuality. No one who has any self-respect stays in Ireland, but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.
—James Joyce (1882–1941) Irish Novelist, Poet
For his mourners will be outcast men, and outcasts always mourn.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
Voyagers discover that the world can never be larger than the person that is in the world; but it is impossible to foresee this, it is impossible to be warned.
—James Baldwin (1924–87) American Novelist, Social Critic
If I were to live my life over again, I would be an American. I would steep myself in America, I would know no other land.
—Henry James (1843–1916) American-born British Novelist, Writer