Modernism, postcolonialism, and globalism: Anglophone literature, 1950 to the present
© Oxford University Press 2019. All rights reserved. As the British empire rapidly contracted after World War II, how did writers living outside the United Kingdom respond to the history of colonialism and the aesthetics of modernism within a global context? In fourteen original essays, distinguished scholars consider these questions in relation to novelists, playwrights, and poets living in English-speaking countries around the world. The introduction not only examines how modernism and postcolonialism evolved over roughly two generations but also situates the writers analyzed in terms of the canonical realignments inspired by the new modernist studies and an array of emerging methodologies and approaches. While this volume highlights social and political questions connected with the end of empire, it also considers the aesthetics of postcolonialism, detailing how writers drew upon, responded to, and sometimes reacted against the formal innovations of modernism. Many of the essays consider the influence modernist artists and movements exercised on postcolonial writers, from Yeats, Conrad, Kafka, Proust, Joyce, Eliot, and Woolf to impressionism, expressionism, surrealism, Dadaism, and abstractionism. The volume is organized around six geographic locales and includes essays on Africa (Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Nadine Gordimer, J. M. Coetzee), Asia (Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy), the Caribbean (Jean Rhys, Derek Walcott, V. S. Naipaul), Ireland (Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney), Australia/New Zealand (David Malouf, Keri Hulme), and Canada (Michael Ondaatje). Among the topics considered are the narrative construction of time and space; the engagement with realism; and the handling of aesthetics, globalization, and cultural hybridity.
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