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The Legend of 1900: Law, Space, and Immigration
Dalarna University, School of Language, Literatures and Learning, Chinese.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0536-6242
2024 (English)In: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, ISSN 0952-8059, E-ISSN 1572-8722Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Sustainable development
SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
Abstract [en]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, more than 4 million Italians migrated to the United States of America (U.S.), which they regarded as a utopia. The flm The Legend of 1900, which was inspired by Alessandro Baricco’s monologue Nocecentoand directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, tells the story about the genius pianist 1900, an orphan, who is fostered by Danny, a black coalman in the boiler room of an ocean liner, and whose parents are presumably Italian immigrants. Due to immigration law, 1900, a man with neither identity, visa, nor legal papers, cannot legally set foot on American soil. As a genius pianist, his existence is nothing more than that of musician—an entertainer to passengers on the gigantic trans-Atlantic liner Virginian, the only place he is permitted to live. According to Michel Foucault’s notion of heterotopia, a ship is “a piece of foating space, a placeless place”—a vessel transporting people to the land of their dreams. However, 1900, who has no legal status, will never arrive in utopia aboard Virginian. He can only construct a heterotopia—a mirror of utopia—so that it to him is a utopia. In the eyes of the law, 1900 is a legally non-existent person on Virginian, a placeless place. However, it is this lawless heterotopia and isolation that create a genius. In this paper, I illustrate how Virginian, as a place outside the law of land, metaphorically gives birth to a pianist, 1900, and why 1900 at the end chooses not to leave the ship, while also discussing the meaning behind the flm and the relationship between law and space.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2024.
Keywords [en]
Immigration law, Space, Heterotopia, Utopia, The Legend of 1900
National Category
Law Specific Literatures Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-47871DOI: 10.1007/s11196-023-10089-wISI: 001143631000001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-47871DiVA, id: diva2:1829099
Available from: 2024-01-18 Created: 2024-01-18 Last updated: 2024-06-14Bibliographically approved

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Hu, Lung-Lung

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