After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie by Michael Gorra

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 ceaselessly drawn and endlessly blurred barriers of id left within the wake of British imperialism.Arguing opposed to a version of cultural id in keeping with race, Gorra starts off 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 life undercuts the idea in an absolute contrast among England and India. He then turns to the antagonistic figures of Naipaul and Rushdie, the 2 nice novelists of the Indian diaspora. while Naipaul's lengthy and debatable profession maps the "deep sickness" unfold by means of either imperialism and its passing, Rushdie demonstrates that convinced outcomes of that ailment, resembling migrancy and mimicry, have themselves develop into artistic forces.After Empire offers enticing and enlightening readings of postcolonial fiction, displaying how imperialism assisted in shaping British nationwide identity—and how, after the top of empire, that identification needs to now be reconfigured.

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On the upper decks, where the tramp is unaccountably lodged, the passengers group themselves by nationality. The Arabs and the Germans sit together in the "non-American" (F, 12) part of the smoking room; the Lebanese businessmen talk money. The tramp isor wasEnglish, but what, he asks, is "nationality these days? I myself, I think of myself as a citizen of the world" (F, 9). Yet that's precisely why his shipmates make him the victim of a cruel practical jokebecause he is without the protection of a group.

The original sin of empire is implicit in everything he writes, but for him its "wound,'' in Mr. Biswas's words, remains "too deep for anger or thoughts of retribution" (B, 483), and his analysis is symptomatic, not causal. 2011 21:48:26] cover past can itself create a new injustice, such as the massacres that conclude A Bend in the River. For those readers in the West who have maintained an Arnoldian belief in the possibility of a disinterested criticism, that refusal has had an important corollary.

But we, who lived there, saw our street as a world, where everybody was quite different from everybody else. Man-man was mad; George was stupid; Big Foot was a bully; Hat was an adventurer; Popo was a philosopher; and Morgan was our comedian" (MS, 63). A slumbut also a world of enormous possibility in which it seems that anything might someday happen. In Finding the Center (1984) Naipaul describes how he began to write that first book in page_81 Page 82 the freelancers' room of the BBC's Caribbean Service, passing its opening pages around as he finished: simplifying and transforming his once "disregarded" (FC, 10) memories of Port of Spain, adding "one concrete detail to another" (FC, 145), establishing for the narrative a sense of speed that matched the speed with which he wrote it.

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