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Cultural readings of race, imperialism and transnationalism

This book analyses black Atlantic studies, colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory, providing paradigms for understanding imperial literature, Englishness and black transnationalism. Its concerns range from the metropolitan centre of Conrad's Heart of Darkness to fatherhood in Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk; from the marketing of South African literature to cosmopolitanism in Achebe; and from utopian discourse in Parry to Jameson's theorisation of empire.

David Lloyd’s work

transformations that take place through the dialectic between the state and what it perforce negates as a condition of its existence’ (p. 87). I want to suggest that Lloyd’s formalism proves, on the contrary, antithetical to a materialist approach. I choose this article for discussion because it seems to condense a number of current dispositions in Western anti-foundationalist critical theory, political critique, and colonial discourse analysis. Lloyd’s concern with Enlightenment ideologies is shared by a growing number of postcolonial critics. His work corresponds to the

in Postcolonial contraventions

discourse analysis, its possible effect on the future theorisation of non-Asian materials. Critical Quarterly subsequently carried a negative description of my piece as the work of a neo-colonialist; in criticising her I performed a gesture analogous to ‘the coloniser’s displacement of the colonised’.7 Spivak, my critic suggested, was a ‘representative colonised voice’. In his haste to impute a neo-colonialist subject-position to me, Pimomo did not stop to question the large problems attached to conferring colonised ‘representativeness’, nor did it occur to him, when

in Postcolonial contraventions
Open Access (free)
The imperial metropolis of Heart of Darkness

overseas dynamic, with its instantaneous impact upon coloniser and colonised, that has formed the critical practice of colonial discourse analysis.2 Conrad’s Kurtz supplies almost too neat an allegory of this dynamic, whereby the coloniser effects his own animalisation. It is worth recalling that Conrad himself considered Kurtz to fall into the trap of excessive symbolism. Replying to Elsie Hueffer’s critique, Conrad in his letter of 3 December 1902 ‘distinctly admits’ to ‘the fault of having made Kurtz too symbolic or rather, symbolic at all’.3 Kurtz has proved so

in Postcolonial contraventions