Chapter 13 From Commonwealth Literature to Black and Asian British Writers: The Long History of Migration and Literature in the United Kingdom

In: Immigrant and Ethnic-Minority Writers since 1945
Sandra Vlasta and
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Dave Gunning
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Immigrant and ethnic-minority writing has been highly visible for a long time in the United Kingdom. Still, scholarship has focused on authors whose backgrounds can be traced to Africa, South Asia or the Caribbean (and thus to the former colonies). Scholars have frequently read their works in relation to debates on race and multiculturalism, and posited them as a continuing political struggle by other means. More recently, scholarship is increasingly concerned with the aesthetics of this writing and has acknowledged that its political aims are inseparable from its artistic achievement. Furthermore, British immigrant and ethnic-minority writing and its critical reception are closely connected to the development of postcolonial criticism. Lately, literary critics as well as the publishing industry and the reading public have started to address the authors as British writers rather than as African, South Asian or Caribbean ones. These developments have also been made a topic in literary studies.

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