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Peter Barry

Background Postcolonial criticism emerged as a distinct category only in the 1990s. It is not mentioned, for instance, in the first edition of Selden's A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory (1985) or Jeremy Hawthorn's A Concise Glossary of Contemporary Literary Theory (1992). It gained currency through the influence of such books as In Other Worlds (Gayatri Spivak, 1987); The Empire Writes Back (Bill Ashcroft, 1989); Nation and Narration (Homi Bhabha, 1990) and Culture and Imperialism (Edward Said, 1993). An important collection of

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
Laura Chrisman

chapter8 21/12/04 11:21 am Page 138 8 Robert Young and the ironic authority of postcolonial criticism When I chanced on postcolonial scholar Robert Young’s Textual Practice review of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s Outside in the Teaching Machine, I was startled to find an attack on Benita Parry among its pages.1 It comes early on, when Young is preparing the ground for a detailed exposition of Spivak’s book by comparing Spivak’s general critical standing with that of Edward Said and Homi Bhabha (who together create Young’s chief constellation of postcolonial

in Postcolonial contraventions
Colonising Europe in Bram Stoker‘s The Lady of the Shroud
William Hughes

Postcolonial criticism is preoccupied for the most part with the implications and the cultural consequences of European interference in a vaguely delineated territory which could best be termed `the East‘. This statement, which might justifiably be regarded as being simplistic, provocative or even mischievous, must however be acknowledged as having some currency as a criticism of an occluded though still discernible impasse within an otherwise vibrant and progressive critical discourse. The postcolonial debate is, to borrow a phrase from Gerry Smyth, both characterised and inhibited by a `violent, dualistic logic‘ which perpetuates an ancient, exclusive dichotomy between the West and its singular Other. In practical terms, this enforces a critical discourse which opposes the cultural and textual power of the West through the textuality of Africa, Asia and the Far East rather than and at the expense of the equally colonised terrains of the Americas and Australasia. This is not to say that critical writings on these latter theatres of Empire do not exist, but rather to suggest that they are somehow less valued in a critical discourse which at times appears,to be confused by the potentially more complex diametrics implied in the existence of a North and a South.

Gothic Studies
An introduction to literary and cultural theory
Series: Beginnings
Author: Peter Barry

Theory often eclipses the text, just as the moon's shadow obscures the sun in an eclipse, so that the text loses its own voice and begins to voice theory. This book provides summaries or descriptions of a number of important theoretical essays. It commences with an account of the 'liberal humanism' against which all newer critical approaches to literature, broadly speaking, define themselves. The book suggests a useful form of intensive reading, which breaks down the reading of a difficult chapter or article into five stages, as designated by the letters 'SQRRR': Survey, Question, Read, Recall, and Review. It explains the rise of English studies by indicating what higher education was like in England until the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The book talks about the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Derrida. It lists some differences and distinctions between structuralism and post-structuralism under the four headings: origins, tone and style, attitude to language, and project. Providing a clear example of deconstructive practice, the book then describes three stages of the deconstructive process: the verbal, the textual, and the linguistic. It includes information on some important characteristics of literary modernism practiced by various writers, psychoanalytic criticism, feminist criticism and queer theory. The book presents an example of Marxist criticism, and discusses the overlap between cultural materialism and new historicism, specific differences between conventional close reading and stylistics and insights on narratology. It covers the story of literary theory through ten key events.

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Fields of understanding and political action
Richard Philips

metaphorical reference to ‘mapping’ finds parallels in critical language, which Ann Laura Stoler, Philippa Levine, Rudi Bleys and others have used to explore and understand imperial sexuality politics. Exploring the promise inherent in these spatial suggestions, I have tried to envisage elements of a postcolonial geography, which potentially challenges and contributes to both postcolonial criticism and critical geography. Taking up questions for a postcolonial geography, posed by Alison Blunt and Cheryl McEwan, I have asked how

in Sex, politics and empire
Open Access (free)
Where postcolonialism is neo-orientalist – the cases of Sarojini Naidu and Arundhati Roy
Elleke Boehmer

discourse seems to reiterate itself within the present that is postcolonial criticism.12 Despite postcolonialism’s anti-colonial agenda, and its intersection with other liberatory theories such as feminism and minority discourses, forms of the criticism, as I will demonstrate, appear to have inherited still unexamined categories of the past, and to be repeating, certainly in their journalistic manifestations, its objectifications of otherness. These objectifications manifest in particularly acute ways traditional concepts of the other woman. Therefore, if the phenomenon

in Stories of women
‘Postcolonial’ as periodizer
Andrew Sartori

most strongly associated with the unhyphenated version of the term. ‘Postcolonial theory’ overtook ‘post-colonial state’ in the mid 1990s to become the most common combination of terms involving either ‘postcolonial’ or ‘post-colonial’. ‘Postcolonial studies’ overtook ‘post-colonial state’ at around the same time to become the second most common combination. Similarly, the usage frequency of ‘postcolonial criticism’ and ‘postcolonial discourse’ increased dramatically between 1990 and 2000 to become among the

in Post-everything
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Mapping the tyranny
Richard Philips

. Empire, sexuality . . . and space To develop the claim that geographical imagination will open up new forms of understanding and intervention in sexuality politics, and to ask where this might take postcolonial criticism, it is first necessary to say more about geographical imagination . This is a complex and contested term. Most simply, it encompasses a ‘sensitivity towards the significance of place and space, landscape and nature in the constitution and conduct of life on earth’. 30 It has been applied to a particular

in Sex, politics and empire
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Postcolonialism and ecology in the work of Tim Robinson
Eóin Flannery

to be, anti-humanist in approach, but that the influences of ‘deep-time’ history  – evident in Robinson’s work – together with a world-ecological perspective must be incorporated in the central workings of postcolonial ecocriticism. Introducing such frameworks into postcolonial criticism, as DeLoughrey and Handley suggest, as viable critical foci does not preclude the parallel employment of eco-materialist criticism, or eco-Marxian thought, within a postcolonial-inflected ecocriticism.22 Nevertheless, the final contention above by DeLoughrey and Handley is open to

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
John McLeod

these days look like a liberal humanist enterprise was at the time an important political investment in these new literatures as significant, despite the limitations we have considered. The patient, detailed and enthusiastic readings of Commonwealth literature laid the foundations for the various postcolonial criticisms that were to follow, and to which much postcolonial critical activity remains indebted. As Shirley Chew has explained, ‘a paradox sits at the heart of the Commonwealth: described as a free association of equal and mutually cooperating nations, it is

in Beginning postcolonialism (second edition)