This book engages with current developments in postcolonial research, exploring notions of cultural transmission, tradition and modernity, authenticity, cross-cultural aesthetics and postcolonial ethics. The author considers the ethical responsibility of the postcolonial intellectual, enhancing our understanding of this topic through the concept of custodianship, which may be defined as a responsibility towards the other in forms of cultural and literary inheritance. The author introduces custodianship as a central theme and a vital question for the committed intellectual today, proposing original interpretations of major postcolonial texts by key figures including Anita Desai, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Mahasweta Devi and Arundhati Roy. Through close reading and historical analysis, Postcolonial Custodianship reveals that a practice of custodianship has always been an essential element of these writers’ ethical engagement, yet in a way that has never been explored. The author contends that the question of custodianship should not be seen as a merely negative designation; it is by redefining the very meaning of custodianship that the ethical dimension of postcolonialism can be rediscovered.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Poetic Inheritance, Postcolonial Custodianship 1. Custodian of the Unspeakable: Reading Anita Desai 2. Guarding the Secret: Allegory and Realism in Imaginary Maps 3. The Curators of the Real: Arundhati Roy's Custodianship 4. Woven into a Song: Cultural Relays in The London Jungle Book Conclusion: "Custodying" the Future
Filippo Menozzi is Assistant Lecturer at the University of Kent, UK, where he teaches courses in Romanticism and Critical Theory, and Literatures of the Twentieth Century. His research interests are postcolonial literature and theory, migration studies, and critical theory.
"An absorbing and thoughtful study of the ethics of postcolonial intellectualism, superbly researched and subtly argued." – Neil Lazarus, University of Warwick, UK