Deconstruction, Imperialism and the West Indian Novel

Deconstruction, Imperialism and the West Indian Novel

Deconstruction, Imperialism and the West Indian Novel

Deconstruction, Imperialism and the West Indian Novel

Excerpt

"Without empire there is no prose fiction."

Edward W. Said

(Lecture, 23 June 1988 at Dartmouth College, N.H.)

Although the birth of the West Indian novel was itself a nominal act of resistance against limiting representations of West Indian personhood, the particular nature of narrative representation revealed in the individual West Indian novel determines its status as ideologically anti-hegemonic or conservative literary exercise. Deconstructive critique can facilitate examination of the text's narrative and epistemological structures so that the extent to which individual novels participate in and resist imperialist ideology may be examined.

Though deconstruction has been the subject of much critical suspicion within and without the academy, it is clear that there is value in what it has revealed about knowledge, the conditions and strategies of knowing, and the nature of truth. The destabilising force of deconstructive analysis can facilitate the practice of iconoclastic hermeneutics, so that putative master narratives are seen to contain the seeds of their own unravelling.

The inherent contradictions in aspiring "master narratives" function as discursive spaces where the earth's wretched, the supposedly voiceless subaltern mass speaks back, as Caliban did, out of ontological necessity. Thus the concept of deconstruction which this work employs in its analysis of the West Indian novel is not one which ironically seeks to use deconstruction to separate, in binarist fashion, the hermeneutic from the political and the ontological. The analysis focuses instead on the dialectical complexities which characterise the intersection of these categories, and it . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.