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Insurgent Testimonies

Insurgent Testimonies: Witnessing Colonial Trauma in Modern and Anglophone Literature OPEN ACCESS

Nicole M. Rizzuto
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Fordham University
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  • Book Info
    Insurgent Testimonies
    Book Description:

    Mind, Body, Motion, Matter investigates the relationship between the eighteenth century’s two predominant approaches to the natural world – mechanistic materialism and vitalism – in the works of leading British and French writers such as Daniel Defoe, William Hogarth, Laurence Sterne, the third Earl of Shaftesbury and Denis Diderot.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-6785-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Language & Literature
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  1. In this book, I examine how British, Caribbean, and African Anglophone writing elaborates an ethics and politics of witnessing events in imperial modernity that generated crises in historical memory.¹ During the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, insurgencies erupted in imperial states and colonies around the world, including Britain’s. At the time of such conflicts, England was confronting social and political unrest within its borders, undergoing cultural and economic shifts accompanying the growth and decline of empire, participating in geopolitical realignments of Europe and the global “East” and “West,” and fighting in world...

  2. Through the framing narrative of an English witness, Conrad’s 1911 novel,Under Western Eyes, depicts the underground dealings of administrators and challengers of the Russian state as they travel across various geopolitical, cultural, and linguistic terrains of Europe. Suggesting the central role testimony will play in this text, Conrad places readers before the law in the first sentence. The novel commences with the flourish of a paraph, a confession sealed by the novel’s narrator, an English teacher of languages: “To begin with I wish to disclaim the possession of those high gifts of imagination and expression which would have enabled...

  3. Rebecca West was a prolific Anglo-Irish writer whose work appeared in diverse venues across the twentieth century, from books brought out by the Hogarth Press, to the Vorticist magazineBlast, to theNew York Herald Tribune. Her novels, short stories, literary criticism, travelogues, reviews, and trial reports form an impressive body of transdisciplinary literature that often features an interdisciplinary approach to the topic at hand. Several of West’s pieces center on events frequently viewed as the most extreme, and exemplary, ruptures of modernity—the two world wars. Among these are the novelThe Return of the Soldier, which was composed...

  4. The previous chapters examined how efforts to bear witness to historical traumas, events in which the nation and empire are threatened by revolt and state violence, shaped the formal strategies of British modernist writing. To glean a fuller sense of how twentieth-century Anglophone literature responds to crises in collective memory when the status of a nation and empire, and the laws that secure them, are particularly unstable, I shift focus now from works written from the metropole to writings produced from within the colonies during colonial and postcolonial periods. In the second half of this book, we will see how...

  5. The previous chapter sought to enrich a postcolonial studies dominated by the cultural problematic of migrancy and deterritorialization by analyzing writings of colonial and postcolonial authors that were not migration narratives but that instead bore witness from within the nation to law’s disruption of it. This final chapter also focuses on a work that eschews a narrative of movement out of the nation for one of detention inside it. Like the Jamaicans Reid and de Lisser, the Kenyan Ngũgi wa Thiong’o elaborates how traumas of a colonial past under Emergency threaten the transition from colony to postcolony. Ngũgi’s postindependence 1967...

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.
Funding is provided by Knowledge Unlatched