Modernism, Modernity and Imperialism

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  • Amar Acheraïou  

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Modernism and empire entertain symbiotic, ambiguous relationships. They influence and feed upon each other in ways not always sufficiently acknowledged in postcolonial criticism. In their introduction to Modernism and Empire , Howard Booth and Nigel Rigby complain about the postcolonial scholars’ neglect of the interrelations between modernism and empire, stating that ‘modernism and Post-colonial studies are both seen in ways that have militated against the consideration of modernism and empire’ (2000, 1). They go on to assert: ‘Colonial discourse theory tends to end its analysis in the early twentieth century, while work on contemporary post-colonial issues usually begins with the widespread decolonisation that followed the Second World War: the literary texts examined are therefore early and foundational texts and contemporary writing’ (1). According to the editors, texts such as Heart of Darkness and A Passage to India ‘have been used, especially in the teaching of modernism, to establish a peripheral theme of race and colonialism in the period’ (1).

  • Modernist Literature
  • Late Colonialism
  • Imperial Politics
  • Contemporary Writing
  • Modernist Writer

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Acheraïou, A. (2008). Modernism, Modernity and Imperialism. In: Rethinking Postcolonialism. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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