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Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»

Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality

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Edited By Nirmala Menon and Marika Preziuso

One defining question links the essays of this collection: How do aesthetic and stylistic choices perform the condition of dislocation of the migrant and, in doing so, also put pressure on the seemingly global promise of cosmopolitanism? Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»: Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality offers a wide array of narratives that complicate the rhetoric of cosmopolitanism and the related discourses of «hybridity». Many such narratives are under-theorized migrations, such as Dalit narratives from India and inter-island migrations in the Caribbean. Collectively, the essays suggest that there are ways in which the forms of the migrant aesthetics, language, and imaginaries may offer new insights in the interactions between practices and discourses of hybridity and cosmopolitanism by examining their precise points of intersection and divergence. This inquiry is especially timely because it raises questions about the circulation, marketing, and consumption of narratives of migration, dislocation, and «diaspora.»
In addition, the collection addresses in at least two significant ways the question about «beyond postcolonialism» and the future of the discipline. First, by questioning and critically examining some foundational theories in postcolonialism, it points to possible new directions in our theoretical vocabulary. Second, it offers an array of reflections around disparate geographies that are, equally importantly, written in different languages. The value that the authors place on languages other than English and their choice to focus on the effect that multiple languages have on the present of postcolonial studies are in line with one of the aims of the collection – to make the case for a multilingual expansion of the postcolonial imaginary as a necessary imperative.
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Chapter 4. Postcolonial Textualities and Diasporic Imagination: Reading Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies (1994) through Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003)

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Reading Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies (1994) through Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003)

MARIKA PREZIUSO

We all dream dreams of unity, of purity; we all dream that there’s an authoritative voice out there that will explain things, including ourselves. If it wasn’t for our longing for these things, I doubt the novel or the short-story would exist in its current form […] Just remember: in dictatorships, only one person is really allowed to speak. And when I write a book or a story, I too am the only one speaking, no matter how I hide myself behind my characters.1

This article is part of a larger project that looks at the nature and function of literary imagination as the catalyst for a dialogue between authors living in different countries and cultural landscapes. In my analysis I use imagination as a mode to link important discussions about textuality and authorship in literature.

My research interests revolve around the literature from contemporary writers of Caribbean descent who live in the USA, but the present article is an effort to read one of these writers in conjunction with the work of a non-Caribbean writer by virtue of their similar engagement with literary imagination vis-à-vis the realities of repression and the traumatic histories of their countries: Dominican-American Julia Alvarez and Iran-born Azar Nafisi. By comparing these writers who so far have seldom been placed in dialogue, I intend to discuss the...

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