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Title: Reading, writing and understanding the postcolonial
Author: Davis, Christopher P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 8952
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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The work here seeks to revamp the way that we read, write and understand the postcolonial during an era in which the field's modishness has receded somewhat, but when its historic objectives remain. Broadly speaking, the thesis is an attempt to examine the ideas that, merged together, equate to the current geography of the postcolonial world. In the first section, I look to the production of value – and specifically, to the process of valuing cultural capital, which delivers to us an important logic: that the postcolonial world appears to us not as it really is, but how it has been written into being over time. The second section reflects upon the settler polities of Australia and South Africa, where I read the works of Archie Weller and Zakes Mda and posit the notion of an arc in their writing, a trajectory that over time sees the novel gradually recede from its engagement with the explicit discourses of colonialism and postcolonialism. Thereafter I turn to recent rise of non-fiction writing to prominence in India. Here the focus concerns the way that the Indian city has been written into the public imagination crudely, as an apparently reasonable synecdoche of all Indian life. I explore the way that the visible spectacle has come to stand at the zenith of representational forms, with the corollary that the written word has lost something of its authority. I introduce recent works of non-fiction that seek to respond to these simplified projections by literarily occupying small-scale Indian spaces: Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Suketu Mehta's Maximum City and Amit Chaudhuri's Calcutta: Two Years in the City. In the final section, I argue for revamped postcolonial reading strategies that are better able to reflect the concrete worlds that literary texts address. I encourage a wider and indiscriminate constellation of non-white British literatures, before offering individual readings of Monica Ali's Alentejo Blue and Kazuo Ishiguro's An Artist of the Floating World.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General)