Postcolonial Essays

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But post-colonial theorists and authors might disagree with this perspective: "..Chinua Achebe observes, the novel's condemnation of European is based on a definition of Africans as savages: beneath their veneer of civilization, the Europeans are, the novel tells us, as barbaric as the Africans.

And indeed, Achebe notes, the novel portrays Africans as a pre-historic mass of frenzied, howling, incomprehensible barbarians..." (Tyson 374-375).

The significance of the prefix "post-" in "postcolonial" is a matter of contention.

It is difficult to determine when colonialism begins and ends, and therefore to agree that "postcolonial" designates an era "after" colonialism has ended.

Other terms used for the writing in English from former British colonies include terms that designate a national corpus of writing such as Australian or Canadian Literature; "English Literature Other than British and American", "New Literatures in English", "International Literature in English"; and "World Literatures".

These have, however, been dismissed either as too vague or too inaccurate to represent the vast body of dynamic writing emerging from the colonies both during and after colonial rule.

They advocated for its inclusion in literary curricula, hitherto dominated by the British canon.

However, the succeeding generation of postcolonial critics, many of whom belonged to the post-structuralist philosophical tradition, took issue with the Commonwealth label for separating non-British writing from "English" literature produced in England.

Post-colonial criticism also questions the role of the Western literary canon and Western history as dominant forms of knowledge making.

The terms "First World," "Second World," "Third World" and "Fourth World" nations are critiqued by post-colonial critics because they reinforce the dominant positions of Western cultures populating First World status.


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