Maps of Empire: A Topography of World Literature
Published: June 2020© 2020
216 Pages, 6.10 x 9.10 x 0.90 in
During the political upheavals of the mid-twentieth century, as imperialism was unraveling on a grand scale, writers from colonized and occupied spaces questioned the necessity and ethics of their histories. As empire "wrote back" to the self-ordained centres of the world, modes of representation underwent a transformation.
Exploring novels and diverse forms of literature from regions in West Africa, the Middle East, and Indigenous America, Maps of Empire considers how writers struggle with the unstable boundaries generated by colonial projects and their dissolution. The literary spaces covered in the book form imaginary states or reimagine actual cartographies and identities sanctioned under empire. The works examined in Maps of Empire, through their inner representations and their outer histories of reception, inspire and provoke us to reconsider boundaries.
Preface: Cartography and the Space of World Literature
1. A Portmanteau of the Nation in Imīl Habībī’s The Pessoptimist
2. The Literary Space of Authority in Camara Laye’s Le Regard du Roi
3. Imperial Palimpsest or Exquisite Corpse: Yambo Ouologuem’s Le Devoir de violence
4. Disorientation and Horror in Sadeq Hedayat’s The Blind Owl
5. Orality and the Space of Translation in the Pima Ant Songs
Afterword: Decolonizing Literary Space
"Conscientious, insightful, and highly original, Maps of Empire brings into conjunction diverse works from around the world and brings into sharp focus key tenets of the current critical and scholarly debates. Maps of Empire makes a significant contribution to global literary studies through an examination of authors, texts, and performative traditions that remain under-studied and outside the purview of literary pedagogy."Djelal Kadir, Department of Comparative Literature, The Pennsylvania State University
"Maps of Empire sets the bar very high. The scope and density of the textual apparatus is admirable, wide-ranging, accurate, and meticulous."Michael Beard, Department of English, University of North Dakota