Mapping Angola and Mozambique
Edited By Ana Mafalda Leite, Hilary Owen, Rita Chaves and Livia Apa
Iain Chambers Power, Language and the Poetics of the Postcolonial
The articulation of literature is a form of violence on the same level as that of the formation of the nation, to which it is always connected. Literature from the outset of modernity has always belonged to the nation; in order to define it a geographical border and a dominant culture that gives name and substance to its most disparate expressions is required. —Lidia Curti, La Voce Dell’ Altra Quem saberá da intertextualidade das nossas cidades fracturadas, excepto nas multilínguas […]. —Heliodoro Baptista Is a European language far from home a white mask for black skins? As the unrequested inheritance of empire, is it merely a linguistic burden, an unwelcomed reminder of former enslavement and present-day planetary subalternity? Such languages – Spanish, English, French and Portuguese – came violently from the sea t0 disseminate these questions in the Caribbean, in the Indian subcontinent, throughout Africa and Latin America. After the retreat of empire and the emergence of the new nation there was no possibility of stripping the imposed language back to the bone, peeling away the layers of the master’s syntax and starting anew. That language had by now also become a home for the previously silenced and subordinated: the colonized. In the colonising logics of power, language itself, routed through local accents and the heterogeneity of historical immediacies, bent and creolized in the unbounded realm of orality, is the stubborn historical testimony of that inheritance. Neither the property of the old 6 Iain Chambers colonial power nor of the postcolonial subject,...
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