Postcolonial singularity and a world literature yet-to-come
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This article considers the challenge posed by Gayatri Spivak to rethink world literature along postcolonial lines as an ethical encounter with alterity. Read in this way, Spivak participates in a reframing of world literature that retains the critical gains made by postcolonial theory and suggests that the work of world literary analysis ought not necessarily be de/prescriptive (classifying and ordering) but might involve a contestation of the power relations that structure the world. In developing this argument, I draw on four further perspectives: Pascale Casanova's problematic assertion of literary singularity in The World Republic of Letters; Fredric Jameson's theorization of “third world literature” as counterpoint to Casanova's limiting understanding of national literature; Gilles Deleuze, who offers a way to rethink world literature in a process of becoming; and Édouard Glissant, whose work proposes a “relational” vision of difference that, like that of Spivak, demands an ethical, imaginative response to literature as literature.
Burns , L M 2015 , ' Postcolonial singularity and a world literature yet-to-come ' Angelaki : Journal of the Theoretical Humanities , vol. 20 , no. 4 , pp. 243-259 . DOI: 10.1080/0969725X.2015.1096650
Angelaki : Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
© 2014. Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Angelaki on 27/10/2015, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0969725X.2015.1096650
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