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James Baldwin Review
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Gender and narrative in the postcolonial nation

Why is the nation in a post-colonial world so often seen as a motherland? This study explores the relationship between gender icons and foundational fictions of the nation in different post-colonial spaces. The author's work on the intersections between independence, nationalism and gender has already proved canonical in the field. This book combines her keynote essays on the mother figure and the post-colonial nation with new work on male autobiography, ‘daughter’ writers, the colonial body, the trauma of the post-colony and the nation in a transnational context. Focusing on Africa as well as South Asia, and sexuality as well as gender, the author offers close readings of writers ranging from Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri and Nelson Mandela to Arundhati Roy and Yvonne Vera, shaping these into a critical engagement with theorists of the nation such as Fredric Jameson and Partha Chatterjee. Moving beyond cynical deconstructions of the post-colony, the book mounts a reassessment of the post-colonial nation as a site of potential empowerment, as a ‘paradoxical refuge’ in a globalised world. It acts on its own impassioned argument that post-colonial and nation-state studies address substantively issues hitherto raised chiefly within international feminism.

Theorising the en-gendered nation

postcolonial literatures from 1947, are cast in a gendered mould. Nationalism, which has been so fundamental to the decolonisation process around the world, bears a clear mark for gender, and this gender marking, rather than being referred to a monolithic or transhistorical concept of patriarchy, can be explained as a specific historical development of power defined by sexual difference. To put it more plainly, this book submits that, without this marking for gender, it is well-nigh impossible to conceive of the modern nation. Whether we look at its iconography, its

in Stories of women

regarded as a ‘postnationalist’ text and Enright’s narrative strategies as well as the themes she tackles can be linked to a position beyond nationalism. Reading the novel as a postnationalist text is of course to accept the centrality of ‘nation’ in Irish literature, albeit in a slightly different way, and since every theory is to some extent reductive, privileging the framework of postnationalism will inevitably overlook other aspects of the novel, such as its relationship to feminism or how early separation may affect the lives of twins, which is, after all, the most

in Irish literature since 1990
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Defining the nation differently

colonial and patriarchal symbolic legacies embedded in many versions of post-independence nationalism. These strategies, which are often interlinked, have included what has been called literalising inherited gender-marked tropes – concretising and ironising them – and also reconfiguring them in different ways, not least through the deployment of testing, teasing or disruptive narrative styles. The question left open, however, is whether this recasting and reconfiguring represents a divestment from the nation-state on the part of writers – those who are often set up as the

in Stories of women
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Ben Okri, Chenjerai Hove, Dambudzo Marechera

BOEHMER Makeup 3/22/05 2:55 PM Page 140 John's G5:Users:john:Public:John's Mac: John's Job 8 The nation as metaphor: Ben Okri, Chenjerai Hove, Dambudzo Marechera metaphors are the public history of nations (with apologies to Balzac). (Timothy Brennan, ‘The National Longing for Form’)1 Unreal nation The first, post-1945 phase of anti-colonial nationalism in Africa, as in other colonised regions, was distinguished by literal belief structures: a strong, teleological faith in the actual existence of the nation as ‘people’, and the sense that history

in Stories of women
Gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa

BOEHMER Makeup 3/22/05 2:55 PM Page 88 John's G5:Users:john:Public:John's Mac: John's Jobs 5 Stories of women and mothers: gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa When the baby was five days old, Ajanupu told her sister that it was time to put alligator pepper in her mouth so that her tongue will be free. If this was not done, Ajanupu said, the baby might be deaf and dumb. So early the next morning, some alligator pepper was brought and Ajanupu chewed it very well and then put it under the tongue of the baby. The baby yelled and yelled. She

in Stories of women
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Colonial body into postcolonial narrative

pain an absolute other which is rarely if ever brought into representation.12 This notion is counterbalanced, however, by the assertion of the universality of the experience of suffering, undivided by difference, as in Rajeswari Sunder Rajan’s reading of Scarry. Even so, discourses of post-independence nationalism and racial solidarity inevitably impose their own definitions of normative pain; certain dominant recuperative selves stand in place of others. There are consequently those among the once-colonised for whom the silences of history have not ended. Considering

in Stories of women
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Regina Maria Roche, the Minerva Press, and the bibliographic spread of Irish gothic fiction

material dissemination as well as the related movement of Irish peoples and print instrumental to the re-negotiation of Ireland's position in a post-Union Atlantic economy. As they do so, the final section of this chapter contends, they gesture towards the role played by these fictions in both refining an Irish cultural nationalism informed by transnationalism and contributing to similar processes of nation-building elsewhere. Roche, the Minerva Press, and the migration of Irish literary production Born in Waterford and raised in

in The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829
Revolutionary nationalism and women’s representation in Ngugi wa Thiong’o

BOEHMER Makeup 3/22/05 2:55 PM Page 42 John's G5:Users:john:Public:John's Mac: John's Jobs 2 ‘The master’s dance to the master’s voice’: revolutionary nationalism and women’s representation in Ngugi wa Thiong’o A writer needs people around him. . . . For me, in writing a novel, I love to hear the voices of the people . . . I need the vibrant voices of beautiful women: their touch, their sighs, their tears, their laughter. (Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Detained)1 With these affirmative words, the Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o points to the strong position that women

in Stories of women