Modernism and Modernity in Anglophone Fiction, 1958–1988
May pursues this argument by scrutinizing novels composed during the thirty-year postindependence, postcolonial era of Anglophone fiction, a period that began with the Nigerian Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and that ended, many would say, with the Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 publication of the Rushdie Fatwa. May contends that the postcolonial authors under consideration—Naipaul, Rushdie, Achebe, Rhys, Gordimer, and Coetzee—inherited modernism and refashioned it. His account of their work demonstrates how it reflects and transfigures modernists such as Conrad, Eliot, Yeats, Proust, Joyce, and Beckett. Tracing the influence of humanistic values and charting the ethical and aesthetic significance of individualism, May demonstrates that these works of "extravagant postcolonialism" represent less a departure from than a continuation and evolution of modernism.
"Urbane and tetchy, sympathetic and maddening, Extravagant Postcolonialism unsettles prevailing views of key postcolonial fictions by spotlighting the eccentric individualities these texts harbor. Even readers whose critical commitments are far distant from May's will find abundant matter for reflection in his explorations of autonomy, curiosity, physicality, and transcendence in the postcolonial frame."—Douglas Mao, Johns Hopkins University
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