In June 2010, The Year’s Work in English Studies released reviews of Rethinking Postcolonialism in sections “XIII – The Nineteenth Century: Victorian Period” and “XIV: Modern Literature”.

For the Victorian period (XIII), Pr. William Baker writes: “In Rethinking Postcolonialism: Colonialist Discourse in Modern Literatures and the Legacy of Classical Writers, Amar Acheraiou makes some interesting observations. The work ‘analyses colonialist discourses in modern literary and nonliterary texts and explores key philosophical concepts in forming colonialism’. Acheraiou’s study is divided into two. First, there is ‘discussion of the ways in which classical writings influenced colonialist discourse’, and secondly ‘examination of the relationship between modernist literature and empire’ (p. 3). Such a framework provides an interesting foundation for insight into various authors, including H. Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling.” (Baker, p.14)

In the section XIV devoted to Modern Literature, Aaron Jaffe states: “For specialists in the life and work of E.M. Forster and Joseph Conrad, 2008 offered a dizzying variety of book-length monographs, new annotated editions and inventive critical essays. […] Amar Acheraiou’s Rethinking Postcolonialism: Colonialist Discourse in Modern Literatures and the Legacy of Classical Writers interrogates postcolonial discourse analysis and posits a new model of interpretation that resituates the historical and ideological resonance of the ‘colonial concept’. In chapters on Forster and Conrad he questions key issues, including hybridity, Otherness and territoriality. Acheraiou is convincing when showing that hybridity as both a theoretical tool and a historical construct is not ‘a linear, flat narrative of cultural exchange’ but a ‘twisted, multilayered imperial tale’ of ‘forced encounters and unequal relationships’ (p. 2). However, Acheraiou’s contention that Forster and Conrad each held ‘an idealised image of Greece’ (p. 82) is counterbalanced by enigmatic ambivalence towards ancient Greek culture. The reading of Forster’s 1903 story ‘Albergo Empedocle’ presents ‘ancient Greece as a rampart against modernity’s discontents’ while at the same time pointing towards its ‘impotence’ as a fund of ‘aesthetic and ideological’ rehabilitation (p. 83)” (Jaffe, p.18-19).


The Year’s Work in English Studies Advance Access published online in June 2010

“XIII – The Nineteenth Century: Victorian Period” by William Baker, Anna Barton, Jane Wright, Alexis Easley and David Finkelstein

“XIV – Modern Literature” by Aaron Jaffe, Andrew Radford, Mary Grover, Sam Slote, Andrew Harrison, Bryony Randall, Nick Bentley, Rebecca D’monte, Graham Saunders, Matthew Creasy and Maria Johnston