Salman Rushdie: A Postmodern Reading of His Major Works

Salman Rushdie: A Postmodern Reading of His Major Works

Salman Rushdie: A Postmodern Reading of His Major Works

Salman Rushdie: A Postmodern Reading of His Major Works

Synopsis

"Salman Rushdie: A Postmodern Reading of His Major Works attempts a close textual analysis of Rushdie's five major novels: Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and The Moor's Last Sigh. It focuses on the manner in which Rushdie is a postmodern writer whose subject is the postcolonial moment and makes the point that unlike many other contemporary subcontinental authors writing in English, Rushdie recognizes that practicing identity politics leads to nativism and nationalism, categories he rejects because they merely invert the colonizer/colonized binary, leaving violent hierarchies intact. His impulse, instead, is to deconstruct the colonizer/colonized binary and in doing so attempt to clear a "new" postmodern space." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The fiction of Salman Rushdie has now been examined and analyzed from a variety of perspectives. A review of the books and journal articles reveals the proliferation of postcolonial criticism of works addressing exclusively the political/social consequences of the fatwa following the publication of The Satanic Verses, of magical realist readings, and books labeling Rushdie as a traitor and as an “Uncle Tom,” with Western writers celebrating what they perceive of as Rushdie's “reason” versus the fundamentalism of Islam. My reading of Rushdie is informed by poststructuralist and postmodern theory and focuses on the manner in which Rushdie is a postmodern writer whose subject is the postcolonial moment. Reading him in the context of poststructuralist/postmodern theory not only allows me to address the issues of representation that Rushdie raises very effectively in his major political novels, it also facilitates my discussion of the manner in which he pushes the boundaries of the modern novel.

Before beginning my discussion of Rushdie, it is important to define the terms “modern” and “postmodern” and explain how I plan to use them in this text. In his book entitled Race, Modernity, Postmodernity: A Look at the History and the Literatures of People of Color Since the 1960s, W. Lawrence Hogue makes the point that

racial tradition, modernity, and postmodernity involve three distinct
conceptions of space and time … [and that] … whereas racial tra
dition connotes wholeness, homogeneity, historical continuity, and
a sense of common ancestry or place of origin, classical modernity
connotes the loss of metaphysical meaning, rampant individualism,
nihilism, hedonism, alienation, fragmentation, the lack of social
identification, and the lack of historical continuity. Whereas racial . . .

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