This surprising study draws together the disparate fields of postcolonial theory and book history in a challenging and illuminating way.
Robert Fraser proposes that we now look beyond the traditional methods of the Anglo-European bibliographic paradigm, and learn to appreciate instead the diversity of shapes that verbal expression has assumed across different societies. This change of attitude will encourage students and researchers to question developmentally conceived models of communication, and move instead to a re-formulation of just what is meant by a book, an author, a text.
Fraser illustrates his combined approach with comparative case studies of print, script and speech cultures in South Asia and Africa, before panning out to examine conflicts and paradoxes arising in parallel contexts. The re-orientation of approach and the freshness of view offered by this volume will foster understanding and creative collaboration between scholars of different outlooks, while offering a radical critique to those identified in its concluding section as purveyors of global literary power.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Repositionings 1. The Problematics of Print 2. Scripts and Manuscripts Part 2: Places 3. Transmitting the Word in South Asia 4. Transmitting the Word in Africa Part 3: Powers 5. Resistance and Adaptation 6. Communication and Authority 7. Licensed Policeman and Literary Protestors 8. The Power of the Consumer. Works Cited and Bibliography
Robert Fraser has published books on Proust, J.G. Frazer, Ben Okri, African poetry and postcolonial fiction. He is co-editor with Mary Hammond of the two-volume Books Without Borders (2008), and also enjoys a parallel career as a biographer. Professor of English at the Open University, he is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society.