Hi lovely hearters

today's article is going to deal with postcolonial literature, something I study at uni and which I am really into.

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The term postcolonial appeared for the first time the 12th December 1959 in the Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary and stands for everything about those territories which were once under the European influence, often referred to as "colonies". This term can also be applied to the literature of former colonies, as well as the one of New literature or Crossover literature.

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Many scholars claim the most appropriate term, even if this literature refuses to be too simplistically labelled, would be the last one because:

1) Post-colonial is a controversial term which emphasizes coloniality and because we also refer to post-colonialism as the process of fighting against colonialism

2) New Literatures were "new" when they began, now some of them are even more than 200 years old.

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Postcolonial literature :

  • it has got a world literature perspective, which suggest an idea of cross-over, of different "literatures" which mingle all together
  • as it is a world literature, it does not accept national borders and limits. As the famous postcolonial Indian novelist Salman Rushdie states in his famous essay Commonwealth literature does not exist (1982) authors should be grouped by their affinities and not by their nationality. If so they would have a common origin but, perhaps, not the same language. This is the case of countries with many official languages such as India, South Africa, and many other African countries.
  • its position is against Eurocentrism, that means it does not accept Europe and Western countries as a paradigm, as a canon, as the centre of the world. It takes the perspective of the other and this is a way to see the world from the other side
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As a European and Western girl myself I often tend to see the world from this point of view
  • it deals with authors of former Spanish, British, French, Portuguese and Italian colonies, which have been for a long time in a subordinate position; the ones which did not figure out in history books as winners
  • the works which belong to this kind of literature do not usually have a single reading
  • they are rewriting reality and reinterpreting it from the point of view that we, Western people, call (wrongly) "of the other".
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Who is "us" and who is "them" depends on the point of view you take.

Example of famous post-colonial writers are Salman Rushdie (Indian), J.M. Coetzee (South African) and Peter Carey (Australian).

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I hope you found this article somehow interesting and made you want to know something more about this type of literature ♥♥

I'd like to leave you with an amazing quote from Saul Bellow's The Dean's December (1982) used by Rushdie (photo above) to describe the attitude all people should have nowadays to face contemporary cultures and events, because we are always reducing the others to our own frame of mind:

For God's sake, said the dog, open the universe a little more!
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-Elena