Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Rewriting history : postmodern and postcolonial negotiations in the fiction of J.G. Farrell, Timothy Mo, Kazuo Ishiguro and Salman Rushdie

By John Martin McLeod


This thesis is a study of the rewriting of history in the work of four novelists: J. G. Farrell, Timothy Mo, Kazuo Ishiguro and Salman Rushdie. I argue that their work occupies a particular position that is both within contemporary British fiction, yet at one remove from it.\ud Their work is situated within the context of critiques of history that are the source of a conflict between postmodernism and postcolonialism. I suggest that each writer engages with postmodemist aesthetics often in an attempt to produce critical histones that bear witness to the voices of those hitherto silenced in conventional historiography. However, these novelists remain anxious as to the potential consequences of mobilising postmodernist models of history, particularly as to the problems this creates concerning historical reference. The thesis aims to\ud identify the range of related attitudes to postmodernist critiques of history at this particular juncture of contemporary fiction in English.\ud \ud I approach the specific position of the novelists under study through Homi Bhabha's work on the confluence of the postmodern and the postcolonial, focusing in particular on his suggestion that the postmodem refutation of Western epistemology enables a postcolonial space where a new range of histories emerge. Because each writer works between at least two cultures, and primarily within Britain, they negotiate from within received epistemology in an attempt to locate a space at its boundaries where conventional forms of knowledge no longer have efficacy. However, in contrast to Bhabha, these writers struggle to reach this space and remain sceptical as to the usefulness of postmodernism in making available new forms of\ud historiography. Ultimately, their work enables a critique of current ways of theorising the relationship between the postmodem and the postcolonial in literary studies

Publisher: School of English (Leeds)
Year: 1995
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1984). (Post)Modem Polemics', doi
  2. 1. 'A Personal Memoir'in Farrell
  3. 1. 'Things Fall Apart' in Farrell
  4. (1962). A Biographical Sketch-Book of Hong Kong, Singapore:
  5. (1992). A Feline Friend:
  6. (1967). A Girl in the Head,
  7. (1992). A Zone of Engagement, doi
  8. (1989). Against Postmodemism. - A Marxist Critique,
  9. (1993). An Annotated Bibliography',
  10. (1991). An Illustrated History of Hong Kong, Hong Kong: doi
  11. (1986). Approaching Postmodernis"I,
  12. (1993). Baudrillard Live: Selected Interviews, London and doi
  13. (1989). Be Careful With Muhammad!: The Salman Rushdie, doi
  14. (1990). Beauty and the Beast: Dualism as Despotism in the Fiction of Salman Rushdie', doi
  15. (1989). Being God's postman is no ftin, yaar": Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses', doi
  16. (1986). Black Skin, White Masks, Charles Lam Markmann trans.,
  17. (1978). Burke's Guide to Countrý, Houses,
  18. (1983). Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of a State, doi
  19. (1985). Carnival and Theater: Plebian Culture and the Structure of Authority in Renaissance England, doi
  20. (1983). Chinese Gods, Hong Kong: Long Island Publishers.
  21. (1950). Collected Impressions,
  22. (1995). Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors, doi
  23. (1991). Critical Fanonism', Critical InquirY, doi
  24. (1980). Critical Practice, doi
  25. (1991). Empire BoYs: Adventures in aMans World. London: HarperCollins. doi
  26. (1988). Ephemeral Vistas: The 'Expositions Universelles, doi
  27. (1984). Epistemologies of the Postmodern: A Rejoinder to Jean-Franqovs Lyotard', doi
  28. (1987). First as Tragedy, Then as Farce:
  29. (1990). Flights From Realism: Themes and Strategies
  30. (1979). Formalism and Marrism, doi
  31. (1978). Grip of Empire',
  32. (1972). Happy Rural Seat. - The English Countn, House and the Literarv Imagination, New Haven and London:
  33. (1989). Historiography and Postmodemism', History and Tlleol-.
  34. (1983). Imagined Communities, London and doi
  35. (1979). Indonesia: An Alternative Histor-y, Sydney: Alternative Publishing Co-operative.
  36. (1992). Intimations of Postmodernity. London and doi
  37. (1991). Is the Post- doi
  38. (1994). Legislations: The Politics of Deconstruction, doi
  39. (1986). London and
  40. (1988). Lyotard: Writing the Event, doi
  41. (1992). Migrant Identities: Personal Memory and the Construction of Selfhood', doi
  42. (1968). Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam, Virginia Luling and Rosamund Linell trans., London: Wiedenfeld and Nicolson. doi
  43. (1990). Nationalism Colonialism arid Literature, doi
  44. (1981). Nosing Out the Indian Reality', Times Lite ra ry SUPP lein en t,
  45. (1976). Of Graminatology. Gayatn Chakravorty Spivak trans.,
  46. (1988). On Blood and Blushing: Bipolarity in Salman Rushdie's Shame'.
  47. (1989). On The High Wire', New York Review of Books,
  48. (1985). On the Museum's Ruins' doi
  49. (1990). Outside Literature, London and doi
  50. (1995). Post- War British Fiction: Realism and After, doi
  51. (1987). Postmodemism or Postcolonialism Today',
  52. (1991). Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations, doi
  53. (1985). Postmodernism or Postcolonialism? ',
  54. (1989). Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the Contemporary, doi
  55. (1966). Prelude to Hong Kong, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. doi
  56. (1982). Profile: Kazuo Ishiguro', doi
  57. (1990). Reply to Professor Zagorin', doi
  58. (1987). Resisting Novels: Ideology and Fictlon,
  59. (1990). Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses': An Islamic Response,
  60. (1986). Rushdie's Shame as Apologue', doi
  61. (1989). Salman Rushdie and the Third World, doi
  62. (1982). Salman Rushdie: Interview',
  63. (1991). Salman Rushdie'in Henderson
  64. (1987). Salman Rushdie's Novels: The Disorder in Fantastic Order', World Literature Written in doi
  65. (1988). Selected Writings, Mark Poster trans., Cambridge: Polity Press. _. 199 1. Revenge of the Crystal: Selected Writings on the Modern Object and its Destin. y 1968-1983, Paul Foss & Julian Pefanis trans.,
  66. (1992). Sequel to History: Postmodernism and the Crisis of Representational Time, doi
  67. (1993). Symbolic Exchange and Death, lain Hamilton Grant trans.,
  68. (1991). Telling, Showing, Showing Off, Critical Inquin-, doi
  69. (1987). The Art of Suspense: Rushdie's 1001 (Mid-)Nights',
  70. (1975). The Big House in the Recent Novel', Studies: Irish Quarterýy Review,
  71. (1979). The British in Malaya 1880-1941. - The Social Histon, of a European Community in Colonial South-East Asia, Kuala Lurnpar: Oxford Universitý' doi
  72. (1993). The Colonial Rise of theNovel, London and Neýý
  73. (1979). The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (second edition), doi
  74. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essa ' doi
  75. (1989). The Empire Writes Back: Theon, and Practice in Post-colonial Literatures, doi
  76. (1988). The Exhibitionary Complex', doi
  77. (1973). The Floating World: Japanese Popular Prints 1700-1900, London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office. doi
  78. (1995). The Idea of the Postmodern: A History, doi
  79. (1987). The Indian English Novel: Kim and Midnight's Children ', doi
  80. (1994). The Location of Culture, doi
  81. (1965). The Lung,
  82. (1984). The Migrant's Vision',
  83. (1993). The Modern British Novel,
  84. (1990). The Novel Today: Contemporary Writers on Modern Fiction (new edition),
  85. (1979). The Novelist as Historian', doi
  86. (1970). The Order of Things: An Archeology of the Human Sciences, doi
  87. (1977). The Origin of German Tragic Draina, John Osborne tran. "..
  88. (1986). The Resistance to Theorv,
  89. (1990). The Rise of Modern Japan, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. doi
  90. (1989). The Road to the View: On the Decline of Reform Thought in Tudor Ireland',
  91. (1993). The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayy6m,
  92. (1989). The Rushdie File, London: Fourth Estate.
  93. (1986). The Rustle of Language, Richard Howard trans.,
  94. (1970). The Siege of Krishnapur, London: Flamingo. 1973/1974. 'The Pussycat Who Fell in Love with the Suitcase',
  95. (1979). The Situation of the Novel (second edition), London and Basingstoke:
  96. (1986). The Year 2000 Will Not Take Place'in Grosz
  97. (1992). Theory and Cultural Value,
  98. (1983). Tile Politics of Theory:
  99. (1986). Timothy Mo Interviewed: An Insular Possession',
  100. (1991). Timothy Mo'in Henderson
  101. (1961). What Is History?,
  102. (1978). Writing and Difference, Alan Bass trans. London, Melbourne and Henleý Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  103. (1993). Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies, Bloomington and Indiana: doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.