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Title: "For I know that house where I will be not belonging" : nostalgic processes in the post/colonial work of Jean Rhys and Hella S. Haasse
Author: Van Gemert, S. T. W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 2097
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis takes as its starting point the idea that the postcolonial is always in some way colonial and belated. It combines theories from Homi K. Bhabha and Rosi Braidotti, arguing that close readings of postcolonial texts should attentively investigate political and personal interconnections with the past, present and future. The thesis provides close readings of novels by Jean Rhys (1890-1979) and Hella S. Haasse (1918-2011). Both authors were born into colonial families in former colonies: Rhys in the former British West Indies; Haasse in the Dutch East Indies (now: Indonesia). They moved to Europe over the period of decolonisation. The close readings focus on critical nostalgic processes in Rhys’s and Haasse’s work, as published in the U.K and the Netherlands. Critical nostalgic processes draw attention to the authors’ insights into colonialist strategies, and connect such insights to contemporary politics in the U.K. and the Netherlands. The thesis further explores nostalgic perceptions of Rhys’s and Haasse’s work in contemporary newspaper reception, thus providing an overview of attitudes to cultural expressions of loss of the colonies at time of publication in the U.K. and the Netherlands, providing contemporary context to the authors’ critical insights. Rhys’s and Haasse’s novels demonstrate their awareness of violence done by colonial politics on a personal level. Both authors use themes of friendship and belonging to highlight the ambivalent split in colonialism. They foreground the workings of colonialist discourses and show limitations to the Self/Other dichotomy. Critical nostalgic processes thus shed new lights on violent histories of colonialism. The close readings demonstrate that Haasse’s and Rhys’s postcolonial imaginations enable ethical engagements with violent colonial pasts. As such, literature and imaginations of colonial history can provide alternatives to rigid identity politics in the postcolonial present, moving towards a truly post colonial future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available