Postcolonialism and the Historical Novel

Allegorical Realism and Contemporary Literature of the Past in Nigeria, Australia and New Zealand

Author: Hamish Dalley



Category: Historical fiction, Australian

Page: 648

View: 905

The historical novel is one of the most prominent modes of contemporary writing in the former British Empire, yet the genre's postcolonial variant has not been the subject of critical analysis in its own right. This neglect can be explained by the dominance of a "resistance paradigm" in postcolonial studies, which tends to equate realism with naive mimesis and thus treats the historical novel as either a vehicle for imperialist ideology or a site of discursive conflict over the meaning of the past. As a result, the genre's epistemological and aesthetic complexities have been marginalised. This thesis responds to this neglect by critically analysing examples of the historical novel published since 2000 in Nigeria, Australia, and New Zealand. Historicised close analysis reveals that notwithstanding the anti-mimetic presumptions of much contemporary postcolonial criticism, and despite differences arising from contextual particularities, these texts are shaped by a common "realist impulse" that frames their narratives as defensible interpretations of the past. This ethical obligation to evidence-based interpretation has formal and epistemological consequences that manifest in an aesthetic framework I call allegorical realism. This term names a mode of representation in which fictional elements oscillate between ontological and conceptual registers in ways that simultaneously produce empathetically-unsettling relations to imagined individuals and interpretations of macro-historical change. This combination of affect and abstraction defines the genre as one based neither around assumptions about the transparency of language, nor overly pessimistic views that knowledge of the past is unachievable. I show that focusing analysis on allegorical realism allows critical attention to move away from its exclusive concern with textual resistance and instead explore how the genre is inflected by the various narratives it mediates and the specificities of postcolonial contexts. This research identifies three main variants of the contemporary postcolonial historical novel, each characterised by a different modulation of allegorical realism. Settler allegory comprises texts like Kate Grenville's The Secret River (2005) and Fiona Kidman's The Captive Wife (2006), in which colonists' alienation from occupied territory is reflected formally in the undercutting of allegorical procedures that align imaginary characters with their settings. Transnational historical novels, by contrast, stretch the spatio-temporal coordinates of allegorical realism to encompass processes taking place in global settings. This generates aesthetic effects that link apparently dissimilar novels like Witi Ihimaera's The Trowenna Sea (2009) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun (2006). Finally, melancholy realism describes texts like Chris Abani's Song for Night (2007) and Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish (2001)-texts which disrupt the boundaries between past and present to unsettle postcolonial complacency. Tracing allegorical realism across these modes reveals how postcolonial concerns continue to recreate the genre, and how the oscillation of the allegorical signifier can challenge dominant accounts of historical change. The genre provides a significant archive for exploring how postcolonial literature is characterised by disjunctive temporalities irreducible to dominant narratives of modernity, while nonetheless being shaped by processes that link the globalised world.

On Post-Colonial Futures

Transformations of a Colonial Culture

Author: Bill Ashcroft

Publisher: A&C Black


Category: History

Page: 170

View: 368

Proposes a radical view of the influence that colonised societies have had on their former colonisers. In this work, Ashcroft extends the arguments posed in The Empire Writes Back to investigate the transformative effects of post-colonial resistance and the continuing relevance of colonial struggle. Author from UNSW.

Postcolonial Readings of Romanian Identity Narratives

Author: Onoriu Colacel

Publisher: Peter Lang Gmbh, Internationaler Verlag Der Wissenschaften


Category: National characteristics, Romanian

Page: 189

View: 898

The book offers a view of national self-identification in the literary culture of twentieth century Romania with a special focus on the postcolonial paradigm. Romanian identity narratives downplay the colonial setup of the country's past and the colonial past goes unmentioned in the country's historiography and popular culture. However, the postcolonial paradigm helps readers grasp national self-identification in modern Romanian culture. The author analyses how Anglo-American reporting on interwar Romania and later Romanian historical fiction establish notions such as hybridity and cultural overlap as conducive to the making of modern Romanian culture.

Book History Through Postcolonial Eyes

Rewriting the Script

Author: Robert Fraser

Publisher: Routledge


Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 224

View: 121

This surprising study draws together the disparate fields of postcolonial theory and book history in a challenging and illuminating way. Robert Fraser proposes that we now look beyond the traditional methods of the Anglo-European bibliographic paradigm, and learn to appreciate instead the diversity of shapes that verbal expression has assumed across different societies. This change of attitude will encourage students and researchers to question developmentally conceived models of communication, and move instead to a re-formulation of just what is meant by a book, an author, a text. Fraser illustrates his combined approach with comparative case studies of print, script and speech cultures in South Asia and Africa, before panning out to examine conflicts and paradoxes arising in parallel contexts. The re-orientation of approach and the freshness of view offered by this volume will foster understanding and creative collaboration between scholars of different outlooks, while offering a radical critique to those identified in its concluding section as purveyors of global literary power.

Spivak and Postcolonialism

Exploring Allegations of Textuality

Author: T. Sakhkhane

Publisher: Springer


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 178

View: 169

Exploring, amongst other themes, representations of the other, strategies adopted to resist such representations, the issues of identity, nationalism, colonialism, feminism, subaltern studies and the English language within the context of Empire, this book projects a study of post-colonialism through the work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.

Mark and its Subalterns

A Hermeneutical Paradigm for a Postcolonial Context

Author: David Joy

Publisher: Routledge


Category: History

Page: 223

View: 795

This book offers a fresh appraisal of the identity and involvement of the subalterns in Mark, arguing that the presence of the subalterns in Mark is a possible hermeneutical tool for re-reading the Bible in a postcolonial context like India. Part I paves the way for a creative discussion on Mark and its interpreters in the rest of the study by looking at the issue of the spread of Christianity and missionary attempts at biblical interpretations that did not take the life of the natives into account. Many insights from the postcolonial situation can be found in the contextual interpretations such as liberation, feminist, postcolonial feminist and subaltern. Part II considers colonial rule in Palestine and examines some Markan texts showing the potential role of the subalterns. It is argued that due to colonial rule, the native people suffered in terms of their identity, religion and culture. There was conflict between Galilee and Jerusalem mainly on religious issues and the victims of domination were the poor peasants and the artisans in Galilee. A dialogue and interaction with the Markan milieu was possible in the research and so the marginal and subaltern groups were effectively understood by exegeting Mark 10:17-31, 7:24-30 and 5:1-20 and showing the postcolonial issues such as the poor and their representation, gender, race, hybridity, class, nationalism, and purity respectively. The subalterns were mainly associated with movements of resistance in Palestine. The Markan proclamation of solidarity with those subalterns is significant. The general conclusion presents the implications of this interpretation for a hermeneutical paradigm for a postcolonial context.

Edinburgh Companion to the Postcolonial Middle East

Author: Ball Anna Ball

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press


Category: Political Science

Page: 544

View: 735

This Edinburgh Companion seeks to develop a postcolonial framework for addressing the Middle East. The first collection of essays on this subject, it assembles some of the world's foremost postcolonialists to explore the critical, theoretical and disciplinary possibilities that inquiry into this region opens for postcolonial studies. Throughout its twenty-four chapters, its focus is on literary and cultural critique. It draws on texts and contexts from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries as case studies, and deploys the concept of 'post/colonial modernity' to reveal the enduring impact of colonial and imperial power on the shaping of the region. And it covers a wide and significant range of political, social, and cultural issues in the Middle East during that period - including the heritage of Orientalism in the region; the roots and contemporary branches of the Israel-Palestine conflict; colonial history, state formation and cultures of resistance in Egypt, Turkey, the Maghreb and the wider Arab world; the clash of tradition and modernity in regional and transnational expressions of Islam; the politics of gender and sexuality in the Arab world; the ongoing crises in Libya, Iraq, Iran and Syria; the Arab Spring; and the Middle Eastern refugee crisis in Europe.

Locating Postcolonial Narrative Genres

Author: Walter Goebel

Publisher: Routledge


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 242

View: 824

This volume explores how postcolonial texts have determined the evolution or emergence of specific formal innovations in narrative genres. While the prominence of questions of cultural identity in postcolonial studies has prevented due attention to concerns of literary form and aesthetics, this book gives premium to the literary, aiming to delineate the evolution of specific narrative techniques as part of an emerging postcolonial aesthetics. Essays delineate elements of an emergent postcolonial narratology across a variety of seminal generic forms, such as the epic, the novel, the short story, the autobiography, and the folk tale, focusing on genre as a powerful tool for the historicizing of literature and orature within cultural discourses. Investigating the heuristic value of concepts such as mimicry, writing back, translation, negotiation, or subversion, the book considers the value of explanatory paradigms for postcolonial generic models. It also explores the status of postcolonial comparative aesthetics versus globalization studies and liberal concepts of the transnational, taking issue with the prominence of Western concepts of identity in discussions of postcolonial literature and the favoring of mimetic forms. This volume offers a unique contribution to the study of narrative genre in postcolonial literatures and provides valuable insight into the field of postcolonial studies on the whole.

Postcolonial Counterpoint

Orientalism, France, and the Maghreb

Author: Farid Laroussi

Publisher: University of Toronto Press


Category: Africa, North

Page: 227

View: 287

Postcolonial Counterpoint is a critical study of Orientalism and the state of Francophone and postcolonial studies, examined through the lens of the historical and cross-cultural relations between France and North Africa. Thoroughly questioning the inability of Western academia to shake free of universalism and essentialism and come to grips with the Orientalism within postcolonial discourse, Farid Laroussi offers a cultural tour d'horizon which considers André Gide's writing on Algeria, literature by French authors of Maghrebi descent, and the conversation surrounding secularism and the headscarf in France. A provocative investigation of the place of Muslims and Islam in Francophone culture, Postcolonial Counterpoint asks how we must proceed if postcolonial studies is to make a difference in reconciling history, identity, citizenship, and Islam in the West.

Postcolonial Theory in the Global Age

Interdisciplinary Essays

Author: Om Prakash Dwivedi

Publisher: McFarland


Category: Social Science

Page: 212

View: 857

The new essays in this collection examine newer forms of colonialism operating today in an increasingly globalized world. Recognizing the complexities and culpability of postcolonial politics, the authors of the essays fill gaps that exist at theoretical levels of postcolonial studies. By studying film, literature, history and architecture, the authors arrive at new ideas about immigration, gender, cultural translation, identity and the future. The collection is driven by notions of ethics, an increasingly influential force at the grassroots if not the international level, addressing capitalism and its attendant drawbacks throughout the course of the book.

Reading Postcolonial Theory

Key texts in context

Author: Bibhash Choudhury

Publisher: Routledge


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 264

View: 891

This book is an essential introduction to significant texts in postcolonial theory. It looks at seminal works in the ‘moments of their making’ and delineates the different threads that bind postcolonial studies. Each chapter presents a comprehensive discussion of a major text and contextualises it in the wake of contemporary themes and debates. The volume: Studies major texts by foremost scholars — Edward W. Said, Chinua Achebe, Albert Memmi, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Paul Carter, Homi Bhabha, Frantz Fanon, Ashis Nandy, Robert J. C. Young, Ngugi wa Thiongo, and Sara Suleri Shifts focus from colonial experience to underlying principles of critical engagement Uses accessible, jargon-free language Focused, engaging and critically insightful, this book will be indispensable to students and scholars of literary and cultural studies, comparative literature, and postcolonial studies.

Whose History?

Engaging History Students Through Historical Fiction

Author: Grant Rodwell

Publisher: University of Adelaide Press


Category: Education

Page: 286

View: 231

Somebody once quipped that any work of Australian historical fiction is a 'burning fuse', travelling over decades through Australian culture and society. In some manner, every newly published Australian historical novel is connected to what it has preceded. Each work belongs to a proud history. Through multiple examples, Grant Rodwell encourages readers to see how a work of historical fiction has evolved. Thus, under various themes, WHOSE HISTORY? examines the traditions in Australian historical fiction, and ponders how Australian historical novels can engage teachers and student teachers. WHOSE HISTORY? aims to illustrate how historical novels and their related genres may be used as an engaging teacher/learning strategy for student teachers in pre-service teacher education courses. It does not argue all teaching of History curriculum in pre-service units should be based on the use of historical novels as a stimulus, nor does it argue for a particular percentage of the use of historical novels in such courses. It simply seeks to argue the case for this particular approach, leaving the extent of the use of historical novels used in History curriculum units to the professional expertise of the lecturers responsible for the units.

Popular Postcolonialisms

Discourses of Empire and Popular Culture

Author: Nadia Atia

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 276

View: 447

Drawing together the insights of postcolonial scholarship and cultural studies, Popular Postcolonialisms questions the place of ‘the popular’ in the postcolonial paradigm. Multidisciplinary in focus, this collection explores the extent to which popular forms are infused with colonial logics, and whether they can be employed by those advocating for change. It considers a range of fiction, film, and non-hegemonic cultural forms, engaging with topics such as environmental change, language activism, and cultural imperialism alongside analysis of figures like Tarzan and Frankenstein. Building on the work of cultural theorists, it asks whether the popular is actually where elite conceptions of the world may best be challenged. It also addresses middlebrow cultural production, which has tended to be seen as antithetical to radical traditions, asking whether this might, in fact, form an unlikely realm from which to question, critique, or challenge colonial tropes. Examining the ways in which the imprint of colonial history is in evidence (interrogated, mythologized or sublimated) within popular cultural production, this book raises a series of speculative questions exploring the interrelation of the popular and the postcolonial.

Genre Fiction of New India

Post-millennial receptions of "weird" narratives

Author: E. Dawson Varughese

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 168

View: 442

This book investigates fiction in English, written within, and published from India since 2000 in the genre of mythology-inspired fiction in doing so it introduces the term ‘Bharati Fantasy’. This volume is anchored in notions of the ‘weird’ and thus some time is spent understanding this term linguistically, historically (‘wyrd’) as well as philosophically and most significantly socio-culturally because ‘reception’ is a key theme to this book’s thesis. The book studies the interface of science, Hinduism and itihasa (a term often translated as ‘history’) within mythology-inspired fiction in English from India and these are specifically examined through the lens of two overarching interests: reader reception and the genre of weird fiction. The book considers Indian and non-Indian receptions to the body of mythology-inspired fiction, highlighting how English fiction from India has moved away from being identified as the traditional Indian postcolonial text. Furthermore, the book reveals broader findings in relation to identity and Indianness and India’s post-millennial society’s interest in portraying and projecting ideas of India through its ancient cultures, epic narratives and cultural (Hindu) figures.

Intervention, Ethnic Conflict and State-Building in Iraq

A Paradigm for the Post-Colonial State

Author: Michael Rear

Publisher: Routledge


Category: History

Page: 298

View: 275

External intervention by the U.N. and other actors in ethnic conflicts has interfered with the state-building process in post-colonial states. Rear examines the 1991 uprisings in Iraq and demonstrates how this intervention has contributed to the problems with democratization experienced in the post-Saddam era. This timely work will appeal to scholars of International Relations and Middle East studies, as well as those seeking greater insight into the current conflict in Iraq.

Postcolonial Writing in the Era of World Literature

Texts, Territories, Globalizations

Author: Baidik Bhattacharya

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 188

View: 912

This book explores the debates surrounding two dynamic fields – postcolonial studies and world literature. Contrary to many dominant narratives in critical theory, it asserts that as an analytical framework the idea of world literature is dead: the nineteenth-century ideal of world literature had always and already been embedded in colonial histories; and also because whatever promise that ideal held out has been exhausted by postcolonial Anglophone literature. Through fresh and incisive readings of the postcolonial canon and some of its most prominent authors like Rudyard Kipling, V.S. Naipaul, J.M. Coetzee, and Salman Rushdie, the volume discusses how these Anglophone writings have used the banal and ordinary ideal of world literature to fashion out their own trajectories. Ambitious in scope, this book challenges many of the existing theoretical and literary frameworks and offers a radical reimagination of the fields. The volume, written in an accessible and lively prose, will be indispensable for scholars and researchers of literature, critical theory, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and comparative literature.

Asia and the Historical Imagination

Author: Jane Yeang Chui Wong

Publisher: Springer


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 229

View: 623

This collection explores the interpretation of historical fiction through fictional representations of the past in an Asian context. Emphasising the significance of region and locality, it explores local networks of political and cultural exchanges at the heart of an Asian polity. The book considers how imagined pasts converge and diverge in developed and developing nations, and examines the limitations of representation at a time when theories of world literature are shaping the way we interpret global histories and cultures. The collection calls attention to the importance of acknowledging local tensions—both within the historical and cultural make-up of a country, and within the Asian continent—in the interpretation of historical fiction. It emphasizes a broad-spectrum view that privileges the shared historical experiences of a group of countries in close proximity, and it also responds to the paradigm shift in Asian Studies. Discussing how local conditions shape and create expectations of how we read historical fiction and working with the theme of fictionality and locality, the volume provides an alternative framework for the study of world literature.

Critique and Utopia in Postcolonial Historical Fiction

Atlantic and Other Worlds

Author: Greg Forter

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 256

View: 436

This bold and ambitious volume argues that postcolonial historical fiction offers readers valuable resources for thinking about history and the relationship between past and present. It shows how the genre's treatment of colonialism illustrates continuities between the colonial era and our own and how the genre distils from our colonial pasts the evanescent, utopian intimations of a properly postcolonial future. Critique and Utopia in Postcolonial Historical Fiction arrives at these insights by juxtaposing novels from the Atlantic world with books from the Indian subcontinent. Attending to the links across these regions, the volume develops luminous readings of novels by Patrick Chamoiseau, J. G. Farrell, Amitav Ghosh, Marlon James, Hari Kunzru, Toni Morrison, Marlene van Niekerk, Arundhati Roy, Kamila Shamsie, and Barry Unsworth. It shows how these works not only transform our understanding of the colonial past and the futures that might issue from it, but also contribute to pressing debates in postcolonial theory—debates about the politics of literary forms, the links between cycles of capital accumulation and the emergence of new genres, the meaning of 'working through' traumas in the postcolonial context, the relationship between colonial and panoptical power, the continued salience of hybridity and mimicry for the study of colonialism, and the tension between national liberation struggles and transnational forms of solidarity. Beautifully written and meticulously theorized, Critique and Utopia in Postcolonial Historical Fiction will be of interest to students of world literature, Marxist critics, postcolonial theorists, and thinkers of the utopian.

Pacific Islands Writing

The Postcolonial Literatures of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Oceania

Author: Michelle Keown

Publisher: OUP Oxford


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 296

View: 358

The Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures series offers stimulating and accessible introductions to definitive topics and key genres and regions within the rapidly diversifying field of postcolonial literary studies in English. The first book of its kind, Pacific Islands Writing offers a broad-ranging introduction to the postcolonial literatures of the Pacific region. Drawing upon metaphors of oceanic voyaging, Michelle Keown takes the reader on a discursive journey through a variety of literary and cultural contexts in the Pacific, exploring the Indigenous literatures of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, and also investigating a range of European or Western writing about the Pacific, from the adventure fictions of Herman Melville, R. L. Stevenson, and Jack London to the Päkehä (European) settler literatures of Aotearoa/New Zealand. The book explores the relevance of 'international' postcolonial theoretical paradigms to a reading of Pacific literatures, but it also offers a region-specific analysis of key authors and texts, drawing upon indigenous Pacific literary theories, and sketching in some of the key socio-historical trajectories that have inflected Pacific writing. Well-established Indigenous Pacific authors such as Albert Wendt, Witi Ihimaera, Alan Duff, and Patricia Grace are considered alongside emerging writers such as Sia Figiel, Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, and Dan Taulapapa McMullin. The book focuses primarily upon Pacific literature in English - the language used by the majority of Pacific writers - but also breaks new ground in examining the growing corpus of francophone and hispanophone writing in French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Easter Island/Rapa Nui.