As the scholarly world attunes itself once again to the specifically political, this book rethinks the political significance of literary realism within a postcolonial context. Generally, postcolonial studies has either ignored realism or criticized it as being naïve, anachronistic, deceptive, or complicit with colonial discourse; in other words—incongruous with the postcolonial. This book argues that postcolonial realism is intimately connected to the specifically political in the sense that realist form is premised on the idea of a collective reality. Discussing a range of literary and theoretical works, Dr. Sorensen exemplifies that many postcolonial writers were often faced with the realities of an unstable state, a divided community inhabiting a contested social space, the challenges of constructing a notion of ‘the people,’ often out of a myriad of local communities with different traditions and languages brought together arbitrarily through colonization. The book demonstrates that the political context of realism is the sphere or possibility of civil war, divided societies, and unstable communities. Postcolonial realism is prompted by disturbing political circumstances, and it gestures toward a commonly imagined world, precisely because such a notion is under pressure or absent.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: Postcolonial Studies and the End of History
- Chapter 1: Nation, Nationalism, and the Novel Form
- Chapter 2: The Historico-Political Discourse
- Chapter 3: The Political Significance of Literary Realism
- Chapter 4: Postcolonial Realism
- Chapter 5: The Politics of Realism: Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey
Eli Park Sorensen is an assistant professor in the English Department at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his PhD in Comparative Literature from University College London in 2007. Dr. Sorensen’s publications include Science Fiction Film: Predicting the Impossible in the Age of Neoliberalism (Edinburgh University Press, 2021) and Postcolonial Studies and the Literary: Theory, Interpretation and the Novel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). He has also published in journals such as NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Journal of Narrative Theory, Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Thought, Modern Drama, Research in African Literatures, Explicator, Partial Answers, Forum for Modern Language Studies, and Studies in Canadian Literature.