Rethinking Postcolonialism: Colonialist Discourse in Modern Literatures and the Legacy of Classical Writers (Palgrave Macmillan 2008) challenges postcolonial discourse analysis and proposes a new model of interpretation that resituates the historical, ideological and conceptual denseness of the Colonial Idea, neglected in postcolonial studies. It questions key issues, including hybridity, Otherness and territoriality, and expands the postcolonial field by introducing valuable, ground-breaking theoretical concepts: colonialism-as-grafting, colonialist discourse as a rhetorical and ideological palimpsest, métissage as the space of the impossible.
As it questions traditional analyses of postcolonial discourse, this book extends the debate on such issues as cross-cultural encounters, the interconnections of language, culture and race, the formation of ideologies of power and supremacy, the archeological structure of colonialist discourse, and the relationship between classical Orientalism and the modern construction of otherness. Besides offering fresh, thought-provoking readings of postcolonial texts, this book maps out the influence of classical theories of race, language and culture on both Victorian and modernist writers. The overall objective is to highlight modern colonialist discourse’s ideological and rhetorical indebtedness to the Greco-Roman narratives of racial and cultural supremacy.
This interdisciplinary study ranges widely and addresses both ancient and modern canonical writers, including Aristotle, Plato, Rudyard Kipling, Rider Haggard, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster, André Gide and Albert Camus. Through close textual and discursive examinations of these authors, this study explores Western imperial intellectual history and show how the classical writers’ ideas on race, culture, identity and Otherness served as a template for modern colonialist ideology. While mapping the multi-layered Western imperial consciousness, the book probes Europe’s anti-colonial tradition. It integrates the discussion of modernist literature with a critique of European post-Enlightenment philosophical concepts.