Magical Realism in Postcolonial British Fiction
eBook - ePub

Magical Realism in Postcolonial British Fiction

History, Nation, and Narration

Taner Can

Partager le livre
  1. English
  2. ePUB (adapté aux mobiles)
  3. Disponible sur iOS et Android
eBook - ePub

Magical Realism in Postcolonial British Fiction

History, Nation, and Narration

Taner Can

DĂ©tails du livre
Aperçu du livre
Table des matiĂšres
Citations

À propos de ce livre

This study delineates the cultural work of magical realism as a dominant mode in postcolonial British fiction through a detailed analysis of 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). It first traces the development of magical realism from its origins in European painting to its appropriation into literature by European and Latin American writers. It then explores contested definitions of magical realism and the critical questions surrounding them and analyzes the relationship between the paradigmatic turn in postcolonial literatures and the concomitant rise of magical realism in Third World countries.

Foire aux questions

Comment puis-je résilier mon abonnement ?
Il vous suffit de vous rendre dans la section compte dans paramÚtres et de cliquer sur « Résilier l'abonnement ». C'est aussi simple que cela ! Une fois que vous aurez résilié votre abonnement, il restera actif pour le reste de la période pour laquelle vous avez payé. Découvrez-en plus ici.
Puis-je / comment puis-je télécharger des livres ?
Pour le moment, tous nos livres en format ePub adaptĂ©s aux mobiles peuvent ĂȘtre tĂ©lĂ©chargĂ©s via l'application. La plupart de nos PDF sont Ă©galement disponibles en tĂ©lĂ©chargement et les autres seront tĂ©lĂ©chargeables trĂšs prochainement. DĂ©couvrez-en plus ici.
Quelle est la différence entre les formules tarifaires ?
Les deux abonnements vous donnent un accÚs complet à la bibliothÚque et à toutes les fonctionnalités de Perlego. Les seules différences sont les tarifs ainsi que la période d'abonnement : avec l'abonnement annuel, vous économiserez environ 30 % par rapport à 12 mois d'abonnement mensuel.
Qu'est-ce que Perlego ?
Nous sommes un service d'abonnement Ă  des ouvrages universitaires en ligne, oĂč vous pouvez accĂ©der Ă  toute une bibliothĂšque pour un prix infĂ©rieur Ă  celui d'un seul livre par mois. Avec plus d'un million de livres sur plus de 1 000 sujets, nous avons ce qu'il vous faut ! DĂ©couvrez-en plus ici.
Prenez-vous en charge la synthÚse vocale ?
Recherchez le symbole Écouter sur votre prochain livre pour voir si vous pouvez l'Ă©couter. L'outil Écouter lit le texte Ă  haute voix pour vous, en surlignant le passage qui est en cours de lecture. Vous pouvez le mettre sur pause, l'accĂ©lĂ©rer ou le ralentir. DĂ©couvrez-en plus ici.
Est-ce que Magical Realism in Postcolonial British Fiction est un PDF/ePUB en ligne ?
Oui, vous pouvez accĂ©der Ă  Magical Realism in Postcolonial British Fiction par Taner Can en format PDF et/ou ePUB ainsi qu'Ă  d'autres livres populaires dans Literature et English Literary Criticism. Nous disposons de plus d’un million d’ouvrages Ă  dĂ©couvrir dans notre catalogue.

Informations

Éditeur
Ibidem Press
Année
2015
ISBN
9783838267548

Chapter 3
Reclaiming Indian Past(s): Postmodern Historiography and Magical Realism in the Indian English Novel

Warning!
Improbable you say?
No fellers,
All improbables are probable in India.
- G. V. Desani, All About H. Hatterr
History, or more precisely historiography, has been one of the central issues of postcolonial studies, offering a fertile ground for debates and analyses for scholars and critics working in the field in the last forty years or so. Since the publication of Edward Said’s seminal work, Orientalism (1978), it has become almost axiomatic in postcolonial studies to view Western historiography as a powerful instrument used by colonial powers to legitimise their presence in foreign lands. While representing the culture of the colonised people as stagnant and their political and social institutions obsolete, the colonisers promoted themselves as the material and spiritual protectors of the “lesser” peoples and hid their economic interests under the pretext of a lofty civilising mission. Particularly after the withdrawal of colonial powers, the former colonies began to challenge and question this Eurocentric version of history and reclaimed their long denigrated past by transforming it into a positive identity affirmation. Hence, as M. H. Abrams and G. G. Harpham succinctly put it, one of the principal preoccupations of postcolonial writing has been:
[t]he rejection of the “master-narrative” of Western imperialism – in which the colonial “other” is not only subordinated and marginalized, but in effect deleted as a cultural agency – and its replacement by a counter-narrative in which the colonial cultures fight their way back into a world history written by Europeans. (236-237)
Given the fact that India had been subjected to British colonial rule for about a century (1858-1947), it is perhaps not surprising that the Indian novel in English has been an active site of national self-definition through narrativisation of history as an anti-colonial practice. As in other former colonies, a resurgence of interest in indigenous roots marked the early examples of Indian literature in English. Most of the novels written in this period reflected the tenets of the anti-colonial ideology and sought to promote a unified vision of Indian nationhood and nationalism. “One of the most striking trends in the Indian novel in English,” Dennis Walder points out, “has been its tendency to reclaim the nation’s histories” (103). In the same vein, U. M. Nanavati and Prafulla C. Kar observe, “Indian writing in English published before the 1970s was willy-nilly caught up and embroiled with questions of national identity and some forms of cultural revivalism” (12-13). In this early phase of the Indian novel in English, writers like Chandra Chatterjee, Mulk Raj Anand, R. K. Narayan and Raja Rao embraced the mimetic realism of the nineteenth-century novelists and “exploited English for no better purpose than to vindicate the spirit of India and its quintessential unity” (Nanavati and Kar 12).
There was, however, an increasingly urgent need to represent the sensibilities of the new hybrid identity generated by the experience of colonialism, and change was inevitable. In the late 1970s and the early 1980s, a new mode of writing began to emerge, bringing about a fresh creative breakthrough. Meenakshi Sharma outlines the transformation the Indian novel in English was undergoing in this period as follows,
Since its inception, Indian English fiction has been dominated (except for sporadic experimental writing) by the monologic, singular and realist narrative aimed at encapsulating the essence of Indian reality through ‘typical’ characters, situations, settings and dialogue. With the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children in 1981 however, a refreshing, productive and invigorating upheaval occurred in Indian English literature. (125)
The distinction between this new generation of writers and their predecessors seems to stem in large from the radical change in the perception of historiography that gradually took hold in the second half of the twentieth century. The novel, that is to say its production and reception as a cultural object, has always responded to the developments in the field of history. However, the relationship between the two had remained controversial until the late twentieth century, mainly because “history defined itself in opposition to literature as an empirical search for external truths corresponding to what was considered to be the absolute reality of past events” (Onega 12). The advent of post-structuralist and postmodern theories in the 1970s had an emancipatory effect on historiography, undercutting the dichotomy between literature and history that had been present ever since Aristotle.[33] Contemporary philosophers of history, such as Hayden White, Paul Veyne and Jacques Ehrmann have repeatedly underscored the fact that historiography, just like literature, is a narrative construct.[34] As a result, from the 1980s onwards, history began to be defined not against, but in relation to literature. It was no longer an inviolable source of absolute truths about the past, but one of the many possible versions of past events.
This postmodernist view of history overlapped to a great extent with postcolonial writing, whose primary intention, according to Leela Gandhi, has been to “fragment or interpellate this [Eurocentric] account with the voices of all those unaccounted for ‘others’ who have been silenced and domesticated under the sign of Europe” (171). It was within the convergence of postcolonialism and postmodernism in the 1980s that the Indian novel in English experienced its successful proliferation. The novelists started to adopt a sceptical stance towards the privileged status of history as “objective knowledge.” Instead of contesting the grand narratives of European history by writing novels with overt national themes, the new generation of Indian novelists intended to disclose the political strategies behind Western historiographic writing. In other words, history became a subversive literary tool in the hands of postcolonial novelists.
Some of the novels written in this period constitute examples of what Linda Hutcheon termed as “historiographic metafiction.” Hutcheon employs this term to describe novels that “are intensely self-reflective but that also both reintroduce historical context into metafiction and problematize the entire question of historical knowledge” (“Pastime” 54-55). Contrary to traditional historical novels that pretend to provide an unproblematic access to the past in its fullness and particularity, novels that fall in the category of historiographic metafiction undermine this claim for historical truth by exposing the fictive status of history writing. Hutcheon notes,
[h]istoriographic metafiction refutes the natural or common-sense methods of distinguishing between historical fact and fiction. It refuses the view that only history has a truth claim, both by questioning the ground of that claim in historiography and by asserting that both history and fiction are discourses, human constructs, signifying systems, and both derive their major claim to truth from that identity. (Poetics 93)
In this respect, Indian novelists can be argued to be artistically more protean than their Western counterparts since the sceptical stance towards history had existed in India’s cultural heritage long before the advent of postmod...

Table des matiĂšres