1st Edition

European Peripheries in the Postcolonial Literary Imagination

Edited By Janine Hauthal, Anna-Leena Toivanen Copyright 2025
    154 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the meanings of European peripheries in postcolonial literary imagination. While colonial discourses have constructed Europe as the centre, the continent is internally divided into centres and peripheries. Approaching the question of European peripherality in a variety of geographical and linguistic contexts and across national and diasporic literary traditions of postcolonial writing, the contributions in this volume attest to the entangled and relational character of the centre/periphery nexus. Acknowledging the unbalanced power structures between centres and peripheries, the volume sets out to challenge conventional ideas about peripheries and places European peripheral loci at the centre of postcolonial literary inquiry.

    The chapters in the volume draw on diverse theoretical and conceptual frameworks in order to address, among others, the link between peripherality and provincialism, the relations between intra-European and colonial peripheries, and the progressive potential of European peripheries as postcolonial spaces.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

    Introduction: European peripheries in the postcolonial literary imagination

    Janine Hauthal and Anna-Leena Toivanen


    1. Imagining the European periphery: Post-war Croatia in Aminatta Forna’s The Hired Man

    Janine Hauthal


    2. On the periphery: Contemporary exile fiction and Hungary

    Ágnes Györke


    3. Dark, Almost Night by Joanna Bator as a (hi)story of the peripheral European city of Wałbrzych/Waldenburg

    Marta Frątczak-Dąbrowska


    4. Strasbourg, the crossroads and the borderline: Poetics of heterotopia in contemporary literature

    Tsivia Frank Wygoda


    5. Afroeuropean peripheral mobilities in francophone African literatures

    Anna-Leena Toivanen


    6. Postcolonial social dramas in European provincial towns: Frank Westerman’s literary journalism

    Lucio De Capitani


    7. Writing an(Other) Europe: Challenging peripheries in Chika Unigwe’s fiction on Belgium

    Patricia Bastida-Rodríguez and Elisabeth Bekers


    8. Entangled peripheries: Spatial agency in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet and Caryl Phillips’s The Lost Child

    Judith Rahn


    9. Mobilities and Mediterranean peripheries: Narrating Maltese identities in Vincent Vella’s Slippery Steps

    Jopi Nyman


    Janine Hauthal is Assistant Research Professor of Intermedial Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She has published on British and Anglophone settler “fictions of Europe”, theatre and migration, metadrama, genre theory and narratology. Her most recent FWO-funded research project is entitled “Self-Reflexivity and Generic Change in 21st-Century Black British Women’s Literature”.


    Anna-Leena Toivanen is Academy Research Fellow at the University of Eastern Finland. She has published on mobility-related themes in African literatures and is the author of Mobilities and Cosmopolitanisms in African and Afrodiasporic Literatures (2021). She is working on her next monograph, Afroeuropean Mobilities in Francophone African Literatures.