In After Empire
, author Michael Gorra examines the issues of national identity and ethnicity as they pertain to the post-colonial novels about and out of India. While he touches briefly on earlier chroniclers of the Raj such as Rudyard Kipling
and E.M. Forster
, he concentrates on three of the most prominent novelists of the post-colonial era: Paul Scott
, V.S. Naipaul
, and Salman Rushdie
. Mr. Gorra begins with Scott's devastating portrait of the twilight years of the Raj in India, The Raj Quartet,
a series of novels written by an Englishman about the British rule of India. He then moves on to the great chronicler of the Indian diaspora,V. S. Naipaul
, who is Indian by ancestry and Trinidadian by nationality. Finally, he turns his microscope on the work of the brilliant Bombay-born, London-based Salman Rushdie
who sees the consequences of the diaspora event as creative rather than destructive.
After Empire is academic but accessible, and it is fascinating in what it has to say about the effects of Imperialism on the identities of those who colonized and those who were ruled. For anyone interested in the literature of the emerging world, Michael Gorra's book provides a base for thinking about post-colonial literature in general, and not just that from India alone.
From Library Journal
Gorra (The English Novel at Mid-Century, St. Martin's, 1990) has written a thoughtful, thoroughly researched, jargon-free study of postcolonial literature. She concentrates her study on Paul Scott's Raj Quartet; several works of V.S. Naipaul, including A House for Mr. Biswas (1961) and A Bend in the River (1979); and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1981) and The Satanic Verses (1989). Scott's and Rushdie's novels are set in India after independence, and Naipaul's works describe Indians living outside India. Gorra considers the characters' (both Indian and English) struggles to find personal and cultural identities after Indian independence. There are bibliographic notes for each chapter but no bibliographies. A significant contribution to postcolonial scholarship; highly recommended for academic British studies collections.?Judy Mimken, Boise P.L., Id.
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