Internationalization of English Literature

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In the future, what will 'English Literary History' mean? A literary history of England, or one with much looser boundaries, defined only by a communality of language, not by location or history? In this, the latest volume in the Oxford English Literary History, Bruce King discusses the literature written by those who have chosen to make England their home since 1948. With decolonization following World War II, and the growth of large immigrant communities in England, came a wave of colonial, postcolonial, and ...
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New York 2004 hardcover Near fine in near fine jacket Volume 13 of The Oxford English Literary History. xii + 386 pages. 8vo with black cloth, dust wrapper. New York: Oxford ... University Press, (2004). A fine copy. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In the future, what will 'English Literary History' mean? A literary history of England, or one with much looser boundaries, defined only by a communality of language, not by location or history? In this, the latest volume in the Oxford English Literary History, Bruce King discusses the literature written by those who have chosen to make England their home since 1948. With decolonization following World War II, and the growth of large immigrant communities in England, came a wave of colonial, postcolonial, and immigrant writers whose entry onto the British cultural landscape forces us to consider what it is to be British, English, or national now that England is multiracial and part of a global economy.

King addresses these new trends in English literature and the questions they raise in the first wide-ranging and comprehensive account of immigrant literature set in a social context. Ranging through Black and Asian British prose, poetry, and drama, and writers including V. S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, and Zadie Smith, King reveals the development of the literature from writing about immigration to becoming English. Now that the literature of England includes Sri Lankans, Egyptians, and British Nigerians, does this mean that we can no longer talk of the English nation as a cultural unit? King concludes persuasively that it does not. We have not seen the demise of national cultures; rather, a new, accomplished, and socially significant body of writing in England is influenced by the interaction between foreign cultures and British traditions. This bold and challenging account of British culture will shape debate for future generations.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In these volumes, former Edinburgh English professors King and Stevenson analyze recent English literary history, focusing on literary contributions produced in, or closely related to, England. Dedicating large sections to poetry, drama, and narrative, Stevenson links key literary events e.g., the rise of literary theory to relevant cultural history of the 1960s to today, from the declining influence of class to emerging minority and countercultures. Not surprisingly, Stevenson's broader focus has generated controversy in the United Kingdom, particularly regarding his evaluation of influential poets like Philip Larkin. Meanwhile, King surveys important contributions from West Indian, African, and Indian writers who settled in England, using a chronological organization, with each chapter covering prose, poetry, and drama. Exemplifying the books' differing approaches is their treatment of writer Linton Kwesi Johnson. Both praise him for developing a distinctive West Indian literary voice, but King's portrait is far more focused, including more personal background and details about his political contributions. Ultimately, King's work is more concise and readable overall, while Stevenson's is a helpful commentary that lacks a unifying thesis. Both books are best suited to university students and scholars. John McRae and Ronald Carters present a more concise survey of recent literature in The Routledge Guide to Modern English Writing. Likewise, Catherine Innes offers a broader guide in A History of Black and Asian Writing: 1700-2000. Marianne Orme, Des Plaines P.L., IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198184287
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Series: Oxford English Literary History Series , #13
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce King is a former lecturer in English at the University of Bristol. His publications include New English Literatures: Cultural Nationalism in a Changing World, Modern Indian Poetry in English, Three Indian Poets, V. S. Naipaul, and Derek Walcott: A Caribbean Life.

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Table of Contents

General Editor's Preface viii
Abbreviations xiii
A Note on References xiv
Introduction 1
1. The End of Imperial England and the Seeds of the New: 1948-1969 13
I. New Immigrants 13
II. Prose: Culture Conflict and Lonely Londoners 32
III. Poetry: Swan Songs, Birds of Passage 61
IV. Drama: West Indian Social Realists 71
2. Transformations: 1970-1979 73
I. Ethnicity and the Myth of Revolution 73
II. Prose: Some Firsts 79
III. Poetry: Black Modernists 103
IV. Drama: West Indian Playwrights and Black Lives 119
3. Fragmentation and Internationalization: 1980-1989 125
I. Demanding Rights 125
II. Prose: From Exotic to British, Almost 140
III. Poetry: Performance and Dialect 192
IV. Drama: Black, Black Feminist, and Asian Brecht 211
4. England's New English Literature: 1990-2000 224
I. Celebrating Multiracial England 224
II. Prose: Remapping England 236
III. Poetry: Returning to the Page and the Self 292
IV. Drama: Histories 311
Conclusion 322
Author Bibliographies 326
Suggestions for Further Reading 362
Index 369
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