Postcolonial Pacific Writing: Representations of the Body, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Postcolonial Pacific Writing

Representations of the Body, 1st Edition

By Michelle Keown


240 pages

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This groundbreaking interdisciplinary study focuses on the representation of the body in the work of eight of Polynesia's most significant contemporary writers. Drawing on anthropology, psychoanalysis, philosophy, history and medicine, Postcolonial Pacific Writing develops an innovative postcolonial framework specific to the literatures and cultures of this region.


"The greatest strength of this book lies in its individual readings, and the elaboration of specific moments within the texts that open on to questions of embodiment and the politics of language. Similarly, the interdisciplinarity and the range of international and local theories offers a multi-perspectival approach which avoids totalising the diversity of geo-political, cultural, linguistic and literary representations… It is a rich and yet accessible book, a valuable study and scholarly resource" -- Chris Prentice, Journal of New Zealand

"I found Keown’s study impressively grounded in postcolonial "new literatures"; wide-ranging in its references to New Zealand secondary scholarship while steeped in postcolonial theory; and responsive to indigenous sociopoetics, history, and narrative modes. Given that the texts she selects are among those most readily available from US and New Zealand publishers, this canon-solidifying book—with its extensive bibliography—seems primed to be a useful supplement to Pacific literature syllabi." --Paul Lyons, The Contemporary Pacific

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Postcolonial dystopias: race, allegory and the Polynesian body in the writing of Albert Wendt

3. 'Gauguin is dead': Sia Figiel and the Polynesian female body

4. Purifying the abject body: satire and scatology in Epeli Hau'ofa's Kisses in the Nederends

5. Alistair Te Ariki Campbell: mental illness and postcoloniality

6. Remoulding the body politic: Keri Hulme's The Bone People

7. Disease, colonialism and the national 'body': Witi Ihimaera's The Dream Swimmer

8. Language and the corporeal: Patricia Grace's Baby No-Eyes

9. The narcissistic body: Alan Duff's Once Were Warriors

10. Conclusion: reinscribing the Polynesian body

About the Author

Michelle Keown is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. She has published widely on Maori and Pacific writing.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures

Edited in collaboration with the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, University of Kent at Canterbury, Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures presents a wide range of research into postcolonial literatures by specialists in the field. Volumes concentrate on writers and writing originating in previously (or presently) colonized areas, and include material from non-anglophone as well as anglophone colonies and literatures.

Part of our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections, this series considers postcolonial literature alongside topics such as gender, race, ecology, religion, politics, and science. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics. Series editors: Donna Landry and Caroline Rooney

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Australian & Oceanian