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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the development, academic institutionalization and critique of postcolonial literature as it has emerged since the mid twentieth century. It considers, first, the significance of attempts to represent colonized peoples, places and cultures from their own standpoint, and addresses the many challenges that postcolonial writers have faced in bringing this material into literary form. It explores the critical reshaping of literary form and literariness in postcolonial writing, as successive generations of writers have searched for ways of bearing witness to the singularity of colonial and postcolonial relations. Next, it assesses the scholarly institutionalization of ‘postcolonial literature’ and foregrounds the sometimes unsubtle and prescriptive account of the forms and purposes of such writing as well as major criticisms of it. Finally, it looks to recent developments in the field—the shift towards postcolonial cultural studies, the critique of ‘marketing the margins’—and concludes by underlining the singularity and enduring value of postcolonial writing in the twenty-first century.

Keywords: Literature, literariness, form, revolution, innovation

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