Writing along Broken Lines: Violence and Ethnicity in Contemporary Maori Fiction

Writing along Broken Lines: Violence and Ethnicity in Contemporary Maori Fiction

Writing along Broken Lines: Violence and Ethnicity in Contemporary Maori Fiction

Writing along Broken Lines: Violence and Ethnicity in Contemporary Maori Fiction

Synopsis

A study of Maori fiction in English roughly spanning the period 1972-1992. The author is a Swiss scholar; he presents detailed readings of the novels and fiction of Baker, Duff, Grace, Hulme, Ihimaera, Stewart, Sturm, Taylor, and Te Awekotuku. Eight chapters include exploration of family violence, growing up streetwise, crime and deviance, terrorism and war, political ideology, and facets of spirituality.

Excerpt

This book is a study of Maori fiction in English, roughly spanning the twenty years between 1972 and 1992. As I was working on this project, there were three questions that I was asked quite frequently. the first was, how did I, living and working in Switzerland, ever become interested in Maori fiction? the antipodean relationship between New Zealand and Switzerland indeed could be so suggestive of cultural distance at its most extreme that some people even wondered how I actually 'discovered' Maori literature. the second question was, why, with a training in English literature, was I not writing about something else? the assumption being that there should be subjects more worthwhile the attention of serious literary scholarship than the relatively small body of texts I had chosen to look at. and the third question was, how could I as a European presume to write about the literary production of a culture that must be foreign to me? Given the role that writing about other cultures played in the constitution of colonial European hegemony, this question was indeed the most critical one.

All three questions are of course intricately related. They raise issues of territoriality -- geographical, political, institutional, textual -- of place and boundaries, and of the flow and control of power within and between boundaries. As such, they go to the substance of my study. Largely for reasons of space, however, but also because they are so interwoven with the subject of my book, I have decided not to unpack the implications of these questions as they relate to myself separately here. Instead, I have decided to pack them into my writing kit, as it were, in order to bring their weight to bear as I go along.

This was not always so. At one stage this study was a PhD thesis submitted to the University of Basel. About double the length of this book, it then included large sections on the reflection on violence in contemporary critical theory and in the social sciences, on postcolonial theory and on Maori culture and history. I have removed most of that material, not in order to erase the traces of my intellectual debts, but to focus the book more clearly on the discussion of Maori fiction. in accounting for influence, where does one begin and where stop? I feel I want to point out that my thinking about violence has been strongly . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

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.