The Postcolonial Historical Novel

Realism, Allegory, and the Representation of Contested Pasts

Author: H. Dalley

Publisher: Springer

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 226

View: 919

The Postcolonial Historical Novel is the first systematic work to examine how the historical novel has been transformed by its appropriation in postcolonial writing. It proposes new ways to understand literary realism, and explores how the relationship between history and fiction plays out in contemporary African and Australasian writing.

Postcolonialism and the Historical Novel

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

Author: Hamish Dalley

Publisher:

ISBN:

Category: Historical fiction, Australian

Page: 648

View: 536

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.

Critique and Utopia in Postcolonial Historical Fiction

Atlantic and Other Worlds

Author: Greg Forter

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 256

View: 235

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.

Australian Fiction as Archival Salvage

Making and Unmaking the Postcolonial Novel

Author: Frances A. Johnson

Publisher: BRILL

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 354

View: 213

Australian Fiction as Archival Salvage examines developments in the Australian postcolonial historical novel from 1989 to the present, including seminal experiments in the genre by Kate Grenville, Mudrooroo, Kim Scott, Peter Carey, Rohan Wilson and others.

The Historical Novel

Author: Jerome De Groot

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN:

Category: History

Page: 200

View: 223

The historical novel is an enduringly popular genre that raises crucial questions about key literary concepts, fact and fiction, identity, history, reading, and writing. In this comprehensive, focused guide, Jerome de Groot offers an accessible introduction to the genre and critical debates that surround it, including: the development of the historical novel from early eighteenth-century works through to postmodern and contemporary historical fiction different genres, such as sensational or ‘low’ fiction, crime novels, literary works, counterfactual writing and related issues of audience, value, and authenticity the many functions of historical fiction, particularly the challenges it poses to accepted histories and postmodern questioning of ‘grand narratives’ the relationship of the historical novel to the wider cultural sphere with reference to historical theory, the internet, television, and film key theoretical concepts such as the authentic fallacy, postcolonialism, Marxism, queer and feminist reading. Drawing on a wide range of examples from across the centuries and around the globe The Historical Novel is essential reading for students exploring the interface of history and fiction.

The Postcolonial Historical Novel

Realism, Allegory, and the Representation of Contested Pasts

Author: H. Dalley

Publisher: Springer

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 226

View: 827

The Postcolonial Historical Novel is the first systematic work to examine how the historical novel has been transformed by its appropriation in postcolonial writing. It proposes new ways to understand literary realism, and explores how the relationship between history and fiction plays out in contemporary African and Australasian writing.

Redefining Latin American Historical Fiction

The Impact of Feminism and Postcolonialism

Author: H. Weldt-Basson

Publisher: Springer

ISBN:

Category: Social Science

Page: 263

View: 822

Current scholarship on Latin American historical fiction has failed to take feminism and postcolonialism into account. This study uses these important contemporary discourses as a starting point for a new definition of the Latin American historical novel that includes national identity, magical realism, historical intertextuality, and symbolism.

Witnessing the Past

History and Post-colonialism in Australian Historical Novels

Author: Sigrun Meinig

Publisher: Gunter Narr Verlag

ISBN:

Category: Australia

Page: 394

View: 196

The Fiction of History

Author: Alexander Lyon Macfie

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN:

Category: Fiction

Page: 210

View: 209

The Fiction of History sets out a number of themes in the relationship between history and fiction, emphasising the tensions and dilemmas created in this relationship and examining how various writers have dealt with these. In the first part, two chapters discuss the philosophy behind the connection between fiction and history, whether history is fiction, and the distinction between the past and history. Part two goes on to discuss the relationship between history and literature using case studies such as Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens. Part three looks at television and film (as well as other media) through case studies such as the film Welcome to Sarajevo and Soviet and Australian films. Part four considers a particular theme that has prominence in both history and literature, postcolonial studies, focusing on the issues of fictions of nationhood and civilization and the historical novel in postcolonial contexts. Finally, the fifth section comprises two interviews with novelists Penelope Lively and Adam Thorpe and discusses the ways in which their works explore the nature of history itself.

The Fiction of Gore Vidal and E.L. Doctorow

Writing the Historical Self

Author: Stephen Harris

Publisher: Peter Lang Gmbh, Internationaler Verlag Der Wissenschaften

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 304

View: 995

This book offers a close study of the relationship between the individual and history - between a particularly American idea of self and how this is experienced in relation to the broader flow of events and time that shape human experience. While the discussion concentrates on Gore Vidal's historical novels Burr and 1876, and E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel and Ragtime, these readings provide a full consideration of each author's views on history and historical fiction, the importance of individualism and corresponding conceptions of history within American culture, and the role of the historical novel in American literature.

Re-landscaping the Historical Novel

Imagining the Colonial Archives as Postcolonial Heteroglossic Fiction

Author: Amanda Suzan Johnson

Publisher:

ISBN:

Category: Creative writing

Page: 326

View: 674

"Feeding the Ghosts" as a Revisionist Historical Novel

Author: Bianca Müller

Publisher: GRIN Verlag

ISBN:

Category:

Page: 36

View: 831

Seminar paper from the year 2010 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Wuppertal, course: The Representation of Slavery from Aphra Behn to Bernadine Evaristo, language: English, abstract: Regarding his third novel, Feeding the Ghosts, the British-Guyanese poet, playwright and novelist Fred D'Aguiar states in an interview for the "Caribbean Studies Journal" that "it was a piece of history that then grew out of an absence of facts about it" (Hyppolite). Apparently the author does not intend to convey a coherent, continuous historical account of the infamous 'Zong-Massacre', which took place in 1781, but rather the ruins of history in a manner of an "as-if-testimony" (Brock 29). Thus, the novel belongs to the genre of historical fiction which combines in a postcolonial context imaginative elements and historical facts with regard to the historiographical document of the death of 131 Africans "at the hands of profit-hungry British slave traders and investors on board the slave ship Zong" (Pichler 7). Sailing from the west coast of Africa to Jamaica, the slave ship carried 442 slaves, more than it could safely transport and was therefore overloaded and lacked sufficient provisions for its 'cargo'. Together with malnutrition and disease, this overcrowding led to Captain Luke Collingwood's decision to throw the sick overboard in order to claim money from the insurers, who covered 39 compensation a head, as long as the action was taken to safeguard the ship's safety. The resulting court trial caused much attention as the case of the Zong outnumbered the known fashion and consequently lead to abolitionist support as the legal status of slaves as 'cargo' was confirmed by the concluding verdict. Finally, in 1790 a preliminary bill was passed which ruled out "insurances claims resulting from slave mortality through natural death or ill treatment, or against loss by throwing overboard of slaves on any account whatsoever""

Magical Realism in Postcolonial British Fiction

History, Nation, and Narration

Author: Taner Can

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 250

View: 538

This study aims at delineating the cultural work of magical realism as a dominant narrative mode in postcolonial British fiction through a detailed analysis of four magical realist novels: Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1981), Shashi Tharoor's The Great Indian Novel (1989), Ben Okri's The Famished Road (1991), and Syl Cheney-Coker's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar (1990). The main focus of attention lies on the ways in which the novelists in question have exploited the potentials of magical realism to represent their hybrid cultural and national identities. To provide the necessary historical context for the discussion, the author first traces the development of magical realism from its origins in European Painting to its appropriation into literature by European and Latin American writers and explores the contested definitions of magical realism and the critical questions surrounding them. He then proceeds to analyze the relationship between the paradigmatic turn that took place in postcolonial literatures in the 1980s and the concomitant rise of magical realism as the literary expression of Third World countries.

The Return of the Mughal: Historical Fiction and Despotism in Colonial India, 1863–1908

Author: Alex Padamsee

Publisher: Springer

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 178

View: 490

This Pivot explores the uses of the Mughal past in the historical fiction of colonial India. Through detailed reconsiderations of canonical works by Rudyard Kipling, Flora Annie Steel and Romesh Chunder Dutt, the author argues for a more complex and integral understanding of the part played by the Mughal imaginary in colonial and early Indian nationalist projections of sovereignty. Evoking the rich historical and transnational contexts of these literary narratives, the study demonstrates the ways in which, at successive moments of crisis and contestation in the later Raj, the British Indian state continued to be troubled by its early and profound investments in models of despotism first located by colonial administrators in the figure of the Mughal emperor. At the heart of these political fictions lay the issue of territoriality and the founding problem of a British claim to sole proprietorship of Indian land – a form of Orientalist exceptionalism that at once underpinned and could never fully be integrated with the colonial rule of law. Alongside its recovery of a wealth of popular and often overlooked colonial historiography, The Return of the Mughal emphasises the relevance of theories of political theology – from Carl Schmitt and Ernst Kantorowicz to Talal Asad and Giorgio Agamben – to our understanding of the fictional and jurisprudential histories of colonialism. This study aims to show just how closely the pageantry and romance of empire in India connects to its early politics of terror and even today continues to inform the figure of the Mughal in the sectarian politics of Hindu Nationalism.

Postcolonial Realism and the Concept of the Political

Author: Eli Park Sorensen

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 204

View: 487

As the scholarly world attunes itself once again to the specifically political, this book rethinks the political significance of literary realism within a postcolonial context. Generally, postcolonial studies has either ignored realism or criticized it as being naïve, anachronistic, deceptive, or complicit with colonial discourse; in other words—incongruous with the postcolonial. This book argues that postcolonial realism is intimately connected to the specifically political in the sense that realist form is premised on the idea of a collective reality. Discussing a range of literary and theoretical works, Dr. Sorensen exemplifies that many postcolonial writers were often faced with the realities of an unstable state, a divided community inhabiting a contested social space, the challenges of constructing a notion of ‘the people,’ often out of a myriad of local communities with different traditions and languages brought together arbitrarily through colonization. The book demonstrates that the political context of realism is the sphere or possibility of civil war, divided societies, and unstable communities. Postcolonial realism is prompted by disturbing political circumstances, and it gestures toward a commonly imagined world, precisely because such a notion is under pressure or absent.

Satire and the Postcolonial Novel

Author: John Clement Ball

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 213

View: 614

Satire plays a prominent and often controversial role in postcolonial fiction. Satire and the Postcolonial Novel offers the first study of this topic, employing the insights of postcolonial comparative theories to revisit Western formulations of "satire" and the "satiric."

A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction

Author: James F. English

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN:

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 296

View: 197

A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction offers an authoritative overview of contemporary British fiction in its social, political, and economic contexts. Focuses on the fiction that has emerged since the late 1970s, roughly since the start of the Thatcher era. Comprises original essays from major scholars. Topics range from the rise and fall of the postcolonial novel to controversies over the celebrity author. The emphasis is on the whole fiction scene, from bookstores and prizes to the changing economics of film adaptation. Enables students to read contemporary works of British fiction with a much clearer sense of where they fit within British cultural life.