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Title: Menippean satire or counter-realism? : questions of genre in postcolonial Indian fiction in English by Menen, Desani, Rushdie, and Sealy
Author: Friedman, Amy Lynn
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 8270
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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The focus of my argument is that much of the counter-realist elements in postcolonial writing can be better understood in the more traditional terms of Menippean satire. I explore this premise in works by a cohort of four South Asian authors of satire who have never previously been examined in concert as such: Aubrey Menen, G.V. Desani, Salman Rushdie, and I. Allan Sealy. My investigations have uncovered connections of influence and resonance which make an assiduous case for considering their work as Menippean satire, running counter to extant critical discussions of experimentalism in postcolonial fiction which tend to describe counter-realism in terms of anti-realism, post-realism, and magic realism. In examining Menippean satire I will also be addressing the current wide use of the term, and suggesting that an over-emphasis on its counter-realist and hybrid elements has led to an unfortunate disregard of its roots in satire. Respective chapters on Menen and Desani look at their use of intertextual juxtapositions which begin to shape a postcolonial emphasis on revision and renewal of novelistic language and form. This emphasis is borne out in my examination of Rushdie's Menippean experiments with language and the rhetorical device of ekphrasis to break down boundaries between cultures, histories, and even art forms to depict a hybrid model of global society. I interpret Sealy's perpetual reformatting of the novel in each new work as a series of Menippean challenges to form which assert alternative narrative perspectives and relocate literary traditions. My conclusion looks at the implications of expanding the current limited critical links between satire and postcolonial literature in general, based on my examination of a body of work that connects to and updates the longstanding tradition of Menippean satire.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral