Drawing from a rich corpus of British cultural production and postcolonial theory, this book positions Brexit in the historical nexus of colonialism, colonial nostalgia, and the rise of narcissistic nationalism in contemporary Europe.
This collection moves away from existing literary discourses framing Brexit as a "novel" event that ushered in a new genre of British fiction. It challenges the hackneyed public discourses that depict the results of the 2016 Referendum as the catalyst of regional instability as well as sociopolitical emergency in Europe. This book traces and critiques populist myth-making in the current United Kingdom through engagement with a wide range of literary and cultural productions, and reminds readers of the proleptic potential of postcolonial theorists and authors – Paul Gilroy, Austin Clarke, Mohsin Hamid, Ali Smith, to name a few – in identifying the residual ideologies of imperialism in the lead up to and after the Brexit campaign. The articles featured here extend Brexit’s figurative geography towards India, Britain, Pakistan, Ireland, Palestine, Barbados, and Eastern Europe, amongst others. They engage with films, media representations, and public discourses alongside more traditional genres such as the novel and stage productions. With a diversified approach to scholarly fields such as postcolonial literary and cultural studies, the book offers new insights into Brexit’s diverse histories not only in academic discourses, but also in the socio-political public sphere at large.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The colonial remains of Brexit: Empire nostalgia and narcissistic nationalism
Caroline Koegler, Pavan Kumar Malreddy and Marlena Tronicke
1. Ain’t No Black in the (Brexit) Union Jack
2. Warning Signs: Postcolonial Writing and the Apprehension of Brexit
3. Brexit literature’s present absentees: Triangulating Brexit, anti-Semitism, and the Palestinian crisis
4. ‘We are all migrants through time’: History and Geography in Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West
5. ‘Eastern Europeans’ and BrexLit
6. Imperial Pasts, Dystopian Futures, and the Theatre of Brexit
7. The Brexit within: Mapping the Rural and the Urban in Contemporary British Fiction
8. Writing Back to Brexit: Transcultural Intertextuality, Refugees, and the Colonial Archive from Chaucer to Kipling
9. (Post)colonial friendships and Empire 2.0: A Brexit reading of Victoria & Abdul
Caroline Koegler is Assistant Professor of British Literary and Cultural Studies, University of Münster, Germany.
Pavan Kumar Malreddy teaches English Literature at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.
Marlena Tronicke is Assistant Professor of British Literary and Cultural Studies, University of Münster, Germany.