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2008 | 5 | 55-73

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COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES (Literatura porównawcza i studia postkolonialne - nowe otwarcie dla komparatystyki?

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The article propounds the thesis that postcolonial studies derive from a comparative impulse and subsequently develop as a discourse comparative in nature. Postcolonialism reveals its comparative drive mostly in the understanding of imperialism as a dynamic forcefield where hegemony, coercion and subjugation are faced and challenged with oppositional forms from sly mimicry through open resistance up to diversity of parodic reclamations and textual reappropriations in the strategy of 'rewriting'. The authoress claims that the new comparativism informed by postcolonial studies, remarkably via Edward Said's work, disrupts binarisms fundamental not only for the imperial thinking about identity, but also for nationalism which needs clear divisions. Comparativism premised on postcolonial studies does not seek to prove the complete rejection and overcoming of colonialism, but, rather, reveals the ambivalent aftermath of colonialism and opens up a new perspective, in Said's words, of nomadic and contrapuntal historiography and history of literature. The foundational theoreticians of postcolonialism - Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabha, to mention just the most important names - recognized the importance of the tradition of comparative literature and called for expanding its borders beyond Europe. Likewise, each of them differently, offers a theory of comparativism enhanced by postcolonial sensibilities. The article concludes with a tone of criticism to warn against the all too easy association of postcolonial literature with a global or cosmopolitan migrant writing marketed as the new world literature prophesied by Goethe. Instead of such marketing, a new critical attention to new cosmopolitanisms, new forms of translation, is needed.







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  • Dorota Kolodziejczyk, Uniwersytet Wroclawski, Instytut Filologii Angielskiej, pl. bp. Nankiera 15, 50-140 Wroclaw, Poland


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