Autobiography and Decolonization: Modernity, Masculinity, and the Nation-State

Overview

Philip Holden reveals deeply gendered connections between the writing of individual lives and of the narratives of nations emerging from colonialism. Autobiography and Decolonization is the first book to give serious academic attention to autobiographies of nationalist leaders in the process of decolonization, attending to them not simply as partial historical documents, but as texts involved in remaking the world views of their readers.

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Overview

Philip Holden reveals deeply gendered connections between the writing of individual lives and of the narratives of nations emerging from colonialism. Autobiography and Decolonization is the first book to give serious academic attention to autobiographies of nationalist leaders in the process of decolonization, attending to them not simply as partial historical documents, but as texts involved in remaking the world views of their readers.

            Holden examines Mohandas K. Gandhi’s An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Marcus Garvey’s fragmentary Autobiography,Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford’s Ethiopia Unbound, Lee Kuan Yew’s The Singapore Story, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, Jawaharlal Nehru’s An Autobiography, and Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah.

            Holden argues that these examples of life writing have had significant influence on the formation of new, and often profoundly gendered, national identities. These narratives constitute the nation less as an imagined community than as an imagined individual. Moving from the past to the promise of the future, they mediate relationships between public and private, and between individual and collective stories. Ultimately, they show how the construction of modern selfhood is inextricably linked to the construction of a postcolonial polity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299226107
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Series: Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Holden is associate professor of English at the National University of Singapore.

His books include Modern Subjects/Colonial Texts; Orienting Masculinity, Orienting Nation; and (with Richard Ruppel) Imperial Desire: Dissident Sexualities and Colonial Literature.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3

1 Starting Points: Life Writing, Modernity, and Masculinity in the Postcolony 15

2 Missing in Action: The Strange Case of Imperial Autobiography 39

3 Absent States: Casely Hayford, Gandhi, Garvey 60

4 Nehru and the National Sublime 88

5 Modernity's Body: Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana 117

6 Nelson Mandela's Long Walk 142

7 A Man and an Island: Lee Kuan Yew's The Singapore Story 168

Conclusion 189

Notes 211

Bibliography 247

Index 269

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