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Title: Precursors to postcolonialism : Leonard Woolf, E.J. Thompson and E.M. Forster and the rhetoric of English India
Author: Harrison, R. P. B.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1996
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Each chapter involves parallel examinations of anxiety and rhetoric; while anxiety is seen to operate behind texts as a state of mind occupying each author, various rhetorical strategies from within texts are examined as devices for communicating, accommodating, and eventually moving beyond anxiety. This development - from Woolf's loss of voice, through Thompson's search for voice, and to Forster's evolution beyond voice - comprises an attitudinal and rhetorical trajectory leading specifically to postcolonialism. After an Introduction situating various inspirations for the thesis in theoretical writings of Edward Said, Georg Lukács, Raymond Williams, Harold Bloom, and Sara Suleri, chapters follow on each of the three writers. Woolf's fiction represents a self-conscious disaffection with the realist and sentimental rhetoric of narrative fiction, a loss of creative energy caused by anxieties over the inherited genre. Thompson's strong sense of inherited guilt conditions a momentum toward an atonement which will reconceive the rhetoric of English India but which he does not feel himself in a position to make on his own. Forster's infringements upon the rhetoric of realism represent an attempt to move beyond the potential resignation and isolation of critical realism, with a vision of the possibility of engagement in a world community and with strong hopes for such a utopia, even though its consummation is consistently deferred. Similarly, his alignments to some of the innovations of modernism, and his own idiosyncratic rhetorical strategies are all determined by a particular imagination of a postcolonial future. All three of these figures write for the future without ever representing what its shape might be, yet always implying that it will be a postcolonial one. In this imagining, they precede the critical and creative writing of today which endeavors to consummate that imagining, and consequently stand before postcolonialism as precursors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available