By Michael Gorra
In After Empire Michael Gorra explores how 3 novelists of empire—Paul Scott, V. S. Naipaul, and Salman Rushdie—have charted the forever drawn and without end blurred obstacles of identification left within the wake of British imperialism.Arguing opposed to a version of cultural identification in line with race, Gorra starts with Scott's portrait, within the Raj Quartet, of the nature Hari Kumar—a seeming oxymoron, an "English boy with a depressing brown skin," whose very lifestyles undercuts the assumption in an absolute contrast among England and India. He then turns to the adversarial figures of Naipaul and Rushdie, the 2 nice novelists of the Indian diaspora. while Naipaul's lengthy and arguable occupation maps the "deep illness" unfold via either imperialism and its passing, Rushdie demonstrates that sure outcomes of that sickness, resembling migrancy and mimicry, have themselves turn into artistic forces.After Empire offers attractive and enlightening readings of postcolonial fiction, displaying how imperialism assisted in shaping British nationwide identity—and how, after the tip of empire, that id needs to now be reconfigured.
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Additional info for After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie
He] knew he was odd" (F, 10). When he opens a magazine, he doesn't read but instead shreds its pages, his "nervous jigging hands" (F, 13) covering the floor around him with litter. "The Tramp at Piraeus" forms the prologue to V. S. Naipaul's 1971 collection In a Free State, a travel sketch whose nameless narrator can be taken as a critical portrait of the author himself. . " And many of the passengers have indeed been refugees: the "humped figures in Mediterranean black" who fill the lower deck, Egyptian Greeks expelled after Suez and now allowed back for a brief visit only.
The world is "too small," Mr. Biswas has earlier thought; the family he has married into is "too large" (B, 91). For the Tulsis, ambition takes an entirely negative form: ''Not to be unmarried, not to be childless, not to be an undutiful daughter, sister, wife, mother, widow" (B, 160). And for years their slipshod yet heavy-handed way of maintaining their Hindu traditions almost defeats his ambition to stand out, to create an individual self and life. Yet ambition does not die; Mr. Biswas continues to believe "that some nobler purpose awaited him, even in this limiting society" (B, 182).
And in remembering the people he thinks of as his "Aryan ancestors" (MM, 18), Singh tries to link his own journey to the past that the New World seems to have cut away, looking beyond the villages of the Gangetic plain to a time when his forebears had not yet become a settled people, when that wandering had seemed not futile but natural, not the mark of a "shipwreck" but simply a part of who one was. It is as if India itself were but a "temporary accommodation," its loss not to be lamentedand yet a loss whose magnitude is marked by the very desperation of Singh's ploy.
After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie by Michael Gorra