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Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing$
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Celia Britton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380369

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380369.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing
Author(s):

Celia Britton

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781380369.003.0001

The Introduction situates the book in the context of recent work by Spivak and others on the ‘literariness’ of postcolonial texts, and on the relationship between the formal features of the text and its possible political significance. In this book, language and literary form are seen as illuminating a ‘content’ that is sometimes properly political but often more diffusely ideological or cultural. Its use of structuralism and poststructuralism alongside postcolonial theory is discussed: while canonical postcolonial theorists such as Spivak, Said and Bhabha are profoundly influenced by Foucault, Lacan and Derrida, postcolonial theory has under-exploited the ‘linguistic turn’ of (post)structuralism. But the colonized subject's alienated relation to the colonial language is a prominent issue in postcolonial fiction, and Britton argues that it can be better addressed by the work of Benveniste and Bakhtin than by anything in postcolonial theory. Conversely, however, postcolonial fiction also reveals the limitations of (post)structuralist theory – Barthes’ S/Z for instance – in its dismissive attitude to a realism that postcolonial writers have reworked and renewed.

Keywords:   Gayatri Spivak, Mikhail Bakhtin, postcolonial theory, literariness, structuralism, poststructuralism, realism

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