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John Thieme

1 Contexts and intertexts In a typically whimsical ‘Self-Obituary’, written in the middle of his life, R.K. Narayan imagines himself, ‘On a certain day (towards the close of the twentieth century)’ being interrogated by ‘four grim men’ from the ‘I.T.F.K.E.O.N’ (‘INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR KEEPING an [sic] EYE ON NOVELISTS’) and charged with various offences.1 These include: writing too much (exceeding his allotted weight limit of 60 pounds of books); inventing an ‘imaginary town’, with ‘false geography’ that is bad for the tourist industry; and leaving his

in R.K. Narayan
Susan Watkins

Doris Lessing’s In Pursuit of the English (1960) provides an excellent point of entry into the extensive body of her work. It also allows us to begin to understand some of the contexts and intertexts that have been important in her writing. Issues of exile and migration are at the centre of this text and her work as a whole, suggesting the importance, but also the instability, of identity. Lessing is interested in ideas about class, nation, ‘race’ and gender, but, more importantly, in the links between these concepts and in the ways

in Doris Lessing
Annalisa Oboe and Elisa Bordin

Chapter 1 introduces the author through his work, in particular his poetry and essays, and uncovers some of the aesthetic principles that organise most of his oeuvre, such as the interplay of the grotesque, the ghostly and the beautiful, and his demanding ethical stance that requires the reader’s active involvement. The chapter rests on a series of forceful authorial statements, particularly about his aesthetics, about the human in extreme situations, the need for identity, the looseness of this notion, and the performative nature of subjectivity. It makes use of Abani’s Daphne’s Lot and The Face: Cartography of the Void to offer a contextual introduction to his concerns, and provides a selective overview of intertexts that informed his early life and work. The chapter includes discussion of Abani’s poems, which are not the main focus of the book, but work well for their constant dialogue with an autobiographical substratum that keeps resurfacing.

in Chris Abani
Open Access (free)
Peter Morey

Contexts and intertexts 1 1 Contexts and intertexts A It may be that writers in my position, exiles or emigrants or expatriates, are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at the risk of being mutated into pillars of salt. But if we do look back we must do so in the knowledge – which gives rise to profound uncertainties – that our physical alienation from India almost inevitably means that we will not be capable of reclaiming precisely that thing that was lost, that we will, in short, create fictions, not actual cities or

in Rohinton Mistry
Anshuman A. Mondal

1 Contexts and intertexts In June 1997 The New Yorker magazine published a special issue on English language Indian fiction to commemorate India and Pakistan’s fiftieth anniversary of independence from colonial rule. Inside is a photograph of some of the most celebrated English language novelists to have emerged from the subcontinent in recent decades, writers whose presence on the bestseller lists of Western literary markets has been accompanied by the unprecedented density of their citations for major literary prizes – Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Arundhati

in Amitav Ghosh
Don Randall

1 Contexts and intertexts An examination of David Malouf’s overall writing career reveals a remarkably continuous concern with encounters between self and other. What most distinguishes his work is its strong tendency to find in otherness (or alterity) the stimulus and orientation for a creative unsettling of identity. The other, in Malouf, does not typically enable a consolidation of selfhood, nor does it unproductively impede or confuse identity formation. Encounter with the other provokes creative self-transformation, a self-overcoming, a becoming other than

in David Malouf
Abigail Ward

doctorate and two books on Hogarth, and is a particularly important intertext for much of his fictional work: most obviously, his novel A Harlot’s Progress is inspired by Hogarth’s engravings of the same name of 1732. Dabydeen’s interest in art from this period stems from, in his words, ‘an attempt to show that English art has had a dimension of blackness to it; in other words, and on a personal level, that I belonged to British society.’ 46 Yet, also pertinent to his interest in art is his concern with ‘the idea of whether or how you could aestheticize suffering’, a

in Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D’Aguiar
Abstract only
Jonathan Bignell

This chapter takes a look at the most sustained work on the intertextual relationships between Beckett's television drama and other work by him and by others. It examines the association between authored television drama with discourses of ‘quality’, and discusses some matters of visual design, music and literary reference in television plays. It discusses the relationship between uses of visual space in Beckett's television plays and Film and his theatrical works. It also addresses some questions of performance related to ‘theatricality’ and the prevalent motif identified by Beckett critics of increasing formal simplicity or minimalism in his theatre.

in Beckett on screen
Lee Spinks

This chapter introduces Michael Ondaatje, who began his writing career as a poet, first narrating Ondaatje's childhood years and his education at Bishops University. It then shows that the fast changes which occurred in Canada during the 1960s paved the way for a new literary scene that influenced Ondaatje to begin a career as a writer. His first poems were published in New Wave Canada (a major anthology of new wave writing), but it was The Collected Works of Billy the Kid that catapulted him into literary fame. The rest of the chapter is devoted to introducing – and briefly discussing – several of Ondaatje's notable works, including The English Patient.

in Michael Ondaatje
Helena Grice

This chapter suggests that the debates over the veracity, or otherwise, of Maxine Hong Kingston's cultural sources, and the vast body of critical material on the feminism-mother/daughter nexus in The Woman Warrior, has simultaneously obscured other, perhaps more pertinent and abiding, preoccupations in Kingston's work. This book locates Kingston within two interconnected, specific cultural contexts: Chinese American history and politics; and the emergence of ethnic feminism in a post-civil rights era. It contends that Kingston's body of work not only raises important questions concerning cultural authenticity, the role of different interpretive communities and canon formation, but that increasingly her oeuvre offers her readers a manifesto of pacifism for a contemporary era.

in Maxine Hong Kingston