THEORY and PRACTICE in POST-COLONIAL LITERATURES

The subjugation of the people continue. Where once forced colonies practically destroyed the life force of various cultures, new media arises. Examinations of what it is not to be within the so-called natural turn-of-events in the way of cultural development. Take for instance, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: a culture that is slowly coming undone as British colonists infiltrate at first in small ways (guns begin filtering into the culture) and then cataclysmicly: religion. Their words and circular ways destroyed, eaten from the inside, like a virus.

Time passes. Texts are produced. The empire writes back. Be it in India, Australia, the West Indies, Africa, Canada, notions and revisions and struggles are made to free oneself from the forced cultural lens. And like Franz Kafka, many authors choose to write in the language of their conquerers: German for Kafka, English for Achebe, and onward.

The Empire Writes Back is a collection of essays about the "powerful forces acting on language in the post-colonial texts," and how the work produced by these people can often be radical critiques of the inhabiting cultures, primarily eurocentricism. It is written by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, first published in 1989 on Routledge and New Accents books.

Some examples of chapter titles: Models of hybridity and syncreticity, Re-placing language: textual strategies in post-colonial writing, Abrogation and appropriation, The metonymic function of language variance, etc. etc.

Chapter three investigates a number of texts, applying the criticisms laid out in the prior chapters. The following works are critiqued: Lewis Nkosi's Mating Birds, V.S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men, Micahel Anthony's Sandra Street, Timothy Findley's Not Wanted on the Voyage, Janet Frame's The Edge of the Alphabet, and R.K. Narayan's The Vendor of Sweets.

I recommend this book if you are interested in literary theory, postmodernism, or just plain like to read about reading literature.

How can we recognise or deal with the new? Any equipment we bring to the task will have been designed to engage with the old: it will look for and identify extensions and developments of what we already know. To some degree the unprecendeted will always be unthinkable... But if the project of closely scrutinising the new remains nonetheless a disconcerting one, there are still overwhelming reasons for giving it all the consideration we can muster. The unthinkable, after all, is that which covertly shapes our thoughts." - Terence Hawkes

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