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ISBN 13: 9780786447893

This is undoubtedly what the term originally meant, but there are many problems with this definition. First, literal colonization is not the exclusive object of postcolonial study.

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Sixties thinkers developed the concept of neo-imperialism to label relationships like that between the U. Few people understand the term in this sense outside a small circle of scholars working in the field. Third, some critics argue that the term misleadingly implies that colonialism is over when in fact most of the nations involved are still culturally and economically subordinated to the rich industrial states through various forms of neo-colonialism even though they are technically independent.

Fourth, it can be argued that this way of defining a whole era is Eurocentric, that it singles out the colonial experience as the most important fact about the countries involved. Surely that experience has had many powerful influences; but this is not necessarily the framework within which writers from—say—India, who have a long history of precolonial literature, wish to be viewed.

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For instance, R. Narayan—one of the most popular and widely read of modern Indian writers—displays a remarkable indifference to the historical experience of colonialism, a fact which results in his being almost entirely ignored by postcolonial scholars.

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Naipaul is so fierce a critic of the postcolonial world despite his origins as a descendant of Indian indentured laborers in Trinidad that he is more often cited as an opponent than as an ally in the postcolonial struggle. Postcolonial criticism could be compared to the tendency of Hollywood films set in such countries to focus on the problems of Americans and Europeans within those societies while marginalizing the views of their native peoples.

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Nigerian writers Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, for instance, after writing powerful indictments of the British in their country, turned to exposing the deeds of native-born dictators and corrupt officials within their independent homeland. Although postcolonial scholars would explain this corruption as a by-product of colonialism, such authors commonly have little interest in pursuing this train of thought.

It is striking how little modern fiction from formerly colonized nations highlights the colonial past. Non-fiction writers often point out that Hindu-Muslim conflicts in South Asia are in part the heritage of attempts by the British administration in India to play the two groups of against each other not to mention the special role assigned to the Sikhs in the British army ; yet Indian fiction about these conflicts rarely points to such colonial causes.

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Australians and Canadians sometimes claim to live in postcolonial societies, but many would refuse them the label because their literature is dominated by European immigrants, and is therefore a literature of privilege rather than of protest. According to the usual postcolonial paradigm only literature written by native peoples in Canada and Australia would truly qualify. Similarly, the label is usually denied to U.

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The Irish are often put forward as an instance of a postcolonial European people, and indeed many African writers have been inspired by Irish ones for that reason. Yet some of the more nationalist ones like Yeats tended toward distressingly conservative—even reactionary—politics, and James Joyce had the utmost contempt for Irish nationalism.

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