Collages of Empire in Fictions of the Long Twentieth Century
This chapter uses the modernist principle of collage to put fictions of post/colonialism in Africa and India in juxtaposition. It circulates between readings of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, Forster’s A Passage to India and Roy’s The God of Small Things, and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and the fictions of Tagore and his sister Swarnakumari Devi. The chapter demonstrates the colonial and postcolonial modernities in Britain and Africa or India create surprising lines of “affiliation” in Edward Said’s sense, whereby the uneven gender, caste, and sexual modernities lead the postcolonial writers to identify with their British precursors’ exploration of the “heart of darkness” within their own societies. Discussion of Woolf and the Tagores challenges the view that feminism is invented in the West and important to the colonies by showing how the Tagore’s writing of brother/sister rivalries anticipates Woolf’s trope of Shakespeare’s sister.
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