The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in

The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in

  • Paperback
  • 296 pages
  • The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (New Accents)
  • Bill Ashcroft
  • English
  • 07 January 2015
  • 9780415280204

10 thoughts on “The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (New Accents)

  1. ·Karen· ·Karen· says:

    'Are you sure you want to mark this book as read?' There should be another alternative between 'cancel' and 'OK' one like well or less yes I think soI have a lot of issues with this book most of which most disarmingly were addressed in chapter 6 'Re Thinking the Post Colonial' Others were notObjections that Ashcroft Griffiths and Tiffin are aware of because I'm obviously not the first person to raise themThe first uestion that arose in my mind arrived with the very first sentence of the Introduction good start eh? More than three uarters of the people living in the world today have had their lives shaped by the experience of colonialism If that is the case then what are we doing with a model of analysis that calls itself post colonial literatures? Shouldn't there just be something called World Literature? Global Literature? Global Studies? Studying Everything that Ever Was Written Anywhere At Any Time? Let me refer you to page 216 a section that deals with the relationship between globalization and post colonial studies basically it says that although globalization is not the same thing as neo colonialism nevertheless the principles and strategies are similar and since post colonial studies has been around longer they know better than the globalization studies johnnies who've only just arrived on the block so there OK that seems reasonable because then post colonial is a discipline that looks at the exchange circulation and transformation of ideas between 'colonized' and hegemonic forces GreatIn that case if as the authors claim post colonial studies can supply a workhorse of principles to be applied to a uasi universal phenomenon then my second uestion comes up in the very next sentence practically Back to the Introduction The next part is called 'What are post colonial literatures?' This is how it starts This book is concerned with writing by those people formerly colonized by BritainWhat?Excuse me but I thought that one of the main objects of the whole post colonial project was to dismantle and subvert that Euro centrist view of the world and yet here they are going in the other direction ie not opening this out to all imperial practices but closing it right down to an English centrist view? But then paradoxically NOT including in this category those countries that were occupied by English imperial forces before the early modern period for example Ireland? Scotland? Wales? On page 202 in that chapter called 'Re thinking the post colonial' which was written a decade after the first edition the authors admit that it was an 'obvious omission' to leave out the study of countries colonized by France Portugal and Spain Indeed Latin America may well fundamentally change our view of the post colonial Right So ten years later this 'obvious omission' is still not part of the picture Why not?The answer lies hidden in plain view scattered across this text in various places Post colonial theory was an invention of literary study In fact it grew out of English studies So here we have the key to understanding the whole dilemma of post colonial studies What they really mean is Commonwealth Literature but the trouble with Commonwealth Literature is that it doesn't exist according to Salman Rushdie anyway It is a fictional categorisation that places English Lit 'proper' at the centre and all those brilliant writers like Rushdie Naipaul or Walcott at the periphery Thus post colonialism is a recent academic discipline new improved re branded Commonwealth Lit As such it is very much concerned with justifying its own existence it cannot shrug on the coat of national or linguistic borders in order to allow the world to see what kind of beast it is it has to find those deep structures that will unite literature written by a Sri Lankan born Canadian a Methodist St Lucian of mixed European and African descent and a Nigerian writing in English And it has to be politically correct by constantly and very rigorously uestioning its own raison d'être the former British Empire Naturally any legitimisation of an academic discipline is bound to be preoccupied with self definition and to be theory heavy And this is fairly theory heavy Where it shines is in the practice; that promise in the title is no empty formula the theory is applied to a reading of various works by Commonwealth post colonial writers This is the most engaging part of the whole book unusual in secondary literature in that it is interesting even when the primary text is not one you're familiar with uite an artHowever and you could feel that however bubbling uietly up to the surface there are alsouibbles that Ashcroft Griffiths and Tiffin do not address because they have to do with the very style of writingI suppose this is very personal what one person finds dense might simply be absolute precision for another There is a certain language used in literary theory and you just have to get on with terms like abrogation and appropriation and binarism and the iconic and constitutive function of language That's fine I can cope with all that it's just when the point is reached where I understand all the words but still don't have a clue what they're saying that's where I go pffffffffffffffffffffffftReading VSNaipaul's The Mystic Masseur we are pointed to a sign put up by Ganesh's future wifeNOTICENOTICE IS HEREBY; PROVIDED THAT SEATSARE PROVIDED FOR; FEMALE SHOP ASSISTANTSApparently an obsession with punctuation directly signifies the gaps constructed between language and lived experienceThis turns into a bit of a theme later when the difference between post colonialism and postcolonialism is discussed the hyphen is a statement about the particularity the historically and culturally grounded nature of the experience it representsThe hyphen in post colonial is a particular form of space clearing gesture a political notation which has a very great deal to say about the materiality of political oppressionNot to me it doesn't but I'm sure that if you're in these academic circles and know all about the suabble going on between those who like the flat end of their boiled egg up and those who prefer the sharp end of their boiled egg up then you'll get those referencesThere's a great index and a great bibliography as indeed there should be And if you only read the first four chapters and skip the one on language which is really only saying that we no longer believe in Standard English then you'd get all that a non academic really needs On the other hand you could read that essay by Rushdie instead

  2. Madeline Madeline says:

    Things That Would Have Made This Book Sort Of Bearable If Ashcroft had been aware that most people upon seeing the title would immediately think of the Star Wars movie Considering that the book is about post colonial literature this makes no sense If it's the Empire that's writing back it can't be post colonial because they were technically the colonizers A much logical title would have been The Rebellion Writes BackI spent an entire English log entry writing about how much this annoyed me and then I found out that the title was actually referencing a Salman Rushdie uote LAME A competent editor who would sit Ashcroft down and explain that using big words and huge paragraphs to say something very simple does not make him smarter; in fact it usually only irritates your readers Do not say exacerbate when you mean increase The elimination of the dicussion on the difference between english and English Still baffles me However it did give me another alternate title idea for this book ENGLISH MOTHERFUCKER DO YOU SPEAK IT? In all seriousness the idea of post colonial literature still kind of baffles me and I spent most of my Perspectives on Literature class trying to come up with increasingly convulted situations to ask my professor about For instance a man is born and raised in England the child of two second generation Chinese immigrants The man speaks both Chinese and English eually well and he writes in English a fantasy novel about talking bears Is the book post colonial? Discuss Read for Perspectives on Literature

  3. Jasmine Jasmine says:

    You know what? So many people are going to say ‘but Jasmine You only read 15 pages of this’ Well that’s all that my university said I had to read So I opened the book And I read what I had to read And I closed the book And I damn well enjoyed reading it

  4. James K James K says:

    An overall solid primer for post colonial studies as related to literature Covers the major historical developments viewpoints theories and issues in the field Generally the authors advocate for a hybridised syncretic point of view prioritising the abrogation then appropriation of colonial cultural systems The book is broad but runs out of steam towards the end when it takes a scattershot approach to contemporary issues of post colonialism such as its intersections with the environment globalisation diaspora etc There are also a few large weaknesses which make this textbook feel outdated the focus on AnglophoneBritish colonisation; the lack of commentary on Indigenous literature; on reader response criticism; the large focus on settler colonies including the USA as post colonial whilst also being somewhat dismissive about any theory that prioritises race Useful bibliography

  5. Maira Maira says:

    An excellent book about the oriental and occidental system A must read for us Pakistani's because of our own colonial history and the psychological effect it has on our minds in post colonial times

  6. Rachel Rachel says:

    Reading this book was extremely helpful in putting postcolonial literature into perspective Considering the content it was also fairly easy to digest Until reading this book I had been frustrated by some of the slang and accents of “english” the different but not lesser evolution of the English language in various countries of postcolonial literature or discouraged when I was not given a dictionary to make sense of it I still have a lot of uestions especially since my personal experience in Ghana Africa this summer and the lack of literature in the school system but overall this was the voice of clarity that I was waiting forI really appreciated the history lesson in English literature as a “privileged academic subject” not that long ago 3 Until I came to Ghana I never realized just how elitist my major English seems to be I used to read Victorian novels and covet the leisure of the upper classes but that is probably me It is the useless on an everyday scale A book will not help me feed my family or till the farm These things that I have dedicated my life to studying are just that A privilege Something that few others could ever enjoy I feel ethnocentric in even being disappointed that the kids don’t read Why should they be reading the English classics from the “center?” This book seems to argue that the “center” is an illusion yet another concept imposed through colonialism The whole “Who reads postcolonial literature came up” which made me excited but it did not really address it in this book 213 But the fact that it was there says to me that there is something to look into on that topic Audience seems really problematic with some of these texts since my personal experience has let me to believe that locals do not read these national texts That would be the uestion to sum up my experience in the secondary school in Wiamoase Ghana Also I never thought about the United States being “postcolonial” I remember learning about the difficulty of establishing our own literary tradition 15 but it helped me see the theoretical points in this movement I liked the definition that “postcolonial” cover “all the cultures affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to present day” and that they have to “assert themselves by foregrounding the tension with the imperial power and by emphasizing their differences from the assumptions of the imperial center” 2 Until now I have never thought of the United States as postcolonial as I mentioned before but importantly I do not think I ever realized that we kind of still are and it affects me I am an American twenty something English student I read this book while planning a layover in London for in two weeks during the last week of my stay in Ghana My whole life I had looked forward to the day when I could go on that pilgrimage of a sort Walk the paths that Virginia Woolf walked sit in the pub of CS Lewis lectured in or stand on thee bank of the Themes with Matthew Arnold It had always been my burning passion to see these places I have never been to simply because it is what I have read and been exposed to Never mind that like Piccadilly Circus I did not know how to ride the tube which I kept calling the lue it is “the center” Talk about an educational crisis Again What does it mean to be an American English student studying English literature? What does it mean that the only way Cambridge would let me an American enter their university is if I had a million dollars or a dad who won a Nobel Peace Prize? What does it mean that to this day Americans rarely get that Nobel Peace Prize in literature? Why have I always gravitated to the English instead of the American writers? Why is England so much appealing to me than Boston for school? Why am I to “the center” but a branch off the tree struggling to be grafted back in? Yet I did not on the London study abroad with my fellow classmates No No rather I went to Ghana somewhere in the red dirt with no address hot shower or Shakespeare’s Globe Does that make me crazy or did I learn something different? I am going to India next summer on my next field study I was pleased to read that India and Africa have loud voices in postcolonial theory Postcolonial literature is looking and like my course of studyI am glad I read this book It sure changed my outlook on my first England adventure I cannot help but think it is incredibly interesting that I went be going to Bath to see the Roman ruins Where exactly do we draw the line for being postcolonial? Are we not all in some sense altered by it or were long before this book was published?

  7. Andreea Andreea says:

    Things that are wrong with this book or its first 13 pages because afterwards I lost patience1 ignores the possibility of experience of colonialism in Europe eg in Ireland2 purports to talk about post colonialism as a phenomenon happening in all colonies but never talks about non Anglophone cultural phenomenons3 says contemporary American literature is postcolonial ???? and Henry James' moving to England was the result of the colony wanting to be English than the English never mind the fact that HJ spent a lot of time in other European countries and only became a British citizen because he was angry that the US didn't intervene in WWI4 talks about 'Britain' as if it's the same thing as the British Empire or England5 generally has no clue what 'post colonial' means it will talk about 'early post colonial' texts written in colonies while they were colonies where's the 'post'?6 ignores the existence and importance of oral literature7 'Eurocentric judgement' and 'European culture' what you speak of does not exist8 'standard British English' UGHSAOMOSTRET6ROSADGRIFDOUTYHDOFGM you said it's Southern English five seconds ago how did it become 'British' all of a sudden? completely and utterly ignores the issue of varieties of English and non English languages within the British Isles9 from my personal experience as a bilingual person and an immigrant the discussion about linguistic alienation doesn't hold water maybe it's just because Transylvania is almost as rainy as Scotland so I don't feel 'alienated' by Scotland? The discussion is also a very infantile english colonialism bad alienates people and doesn't mention that English offers people the tools to discuss eg botany which you can't do in some extra European languages because people haven't been discussing botany in them for the last 500 years This is a serious problem for educational institutions and researchers who have to consciously shape their native language to make it work for them But how can I expect a book on literary studies to consider the existence of language and culture outside traditional notions of 'literature'? 10 it seems to believe that theories is the same as Theory and keeps talking about 'European theory' but what that could be it never explains

  8. Klára Klára says:

    No Just no Poco literature is cool I love it I've also read a lot of novels and articles discussing these issues I think that might be the reason why I an so annoyed But the book Oh the book These guys are either stating the obvious or bullshitting twisting the information in order to prove their not so valid points I want the three days I spent reading this book back

  9. Noha Noha says:

    I am abandoning this half way through The style in which it is written is very difficult to follow even if they don't use big words I am sure I have started reading other books on post colonial studies that put their ideas across in a much clearer style

  10. Fadwa Qamhia Fadwa Qamhia says:

    I want to thank the authors for their hard work on this

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The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (New Accents)❰Epub❯ ➞ The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (New Accents) Author Bill Ashcroft – The experience of colonization and the challenges of a post colonial world have produced an explosion of new writing in English This diverse and powerful body of literature has established a specific The experience of colonization and the challenges of Writes Back: PDF/EPUB æ a post colonial world have produced an explosion of new writing in English This diverse and powerful body of literature has established a specific practice of post colonial writing in cultures as various as The Empire ePUB ↠ India Australia the West Indies and Canada and has challenged both the traditional canon and dominant ideas of literature and cultureThe Empire Writes Back was the first major theoretical account of a wide range of post colonial texts and their relation to the Empire Writes Back: Epub Þ larger issues of post colonial culture and remains one of the most significant works published in this field The authors three leading figures in post colonial studies open up debates about the interrelationships of post colonial literatures investigate the powerful forces acting on Empire Writes Back: Theory and eBook Ç language in the post colonial text and show how these texts constitute a radical critiue of Eurocentric notions of literature and languageThis book is brilliant not only for its incisive analysis but for its accessibility for readers new to the field Now with an additional chapter and an updated bibliography The Empire Writes Back is essential for contemporary post colonial studies.