More than three-quarters of the people living in the world today have had their lives shaped by the experience of colonialism. It is easy to see how important this has been in the political and economic spheres, but its general influence on the perceptual frameworks of contemporary peoples is often less evident. Literature offers one of the most important ways in which these new perceptions are expressed and it is in their writing, and through other arts such as painting, sculpture, music, and dance that the day-to-day realities experienced by colonized peoples have been most powerfully encoded and so profoundly influential.
What are post-colonial literatures?
This book is concerned with writing by those peoples formerly colonized by Britain, though much of what it deals with is of interest and relevance to countries colonized by other European powers, such as France, Portugal, and Spain. The semantic basis of the term ?post-colonial? might seem to suggest a concern only with the national culture after the departure of the imperial power. It has occasionally been employed in some earlier work in the area to distinguish between the periods before and after independence (?colonial period? and ?post-colonial period?), for example, in constructing national literary histories, or in suggesting comparative studies between stages in those histories. Generally speaking, though, the term ?colonial? has been used for the period before independence and a term indicating a national writing, such as ?modern Canadian writing? or ?recent West Indian literature? has been employed to distinguish the period after independence.
We use the term ?post-co...
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