Literary Location and Dislocation of Myth in the Post/Colonial Anglophone World

Series:

The English-speaking world today is so diverse that readers need a gateway to its many postcolonial narratives and art forms. This collection of essays examines this diver¬sity and what brings so many different cul¬tures together. Whether Indian, Canadian, Australasian or Zimbabwean, the stories dis¬cussed focus on how artists render experi¬ences of separation, belonging, and loss. The histories and transformations postcolonial countries have gone through have given rise to a wide range of myths that retrace their birth, evolution, and decline. Myths have enabled ethnic communities to live together; the first section of this collection dwells on stories, which can be both inclusive and exclusive, under the aegis of ‘nation’.
While certain essays revisit and retell the crucial role women have played in mythical texts like the Mahābhārata, others discuss how settler colonies return to and re-appro¬priate a past in order to define themselves in the present. Crises, clashes, and conflicts, which are at the heart of the second section of this book, entail myths of historical and cultural dislocation. They appear as breaks in time that call for reconstruction and redefini¬tion, a chief instance being the trauma of slavery, with its deep geographical and cul¬tural dislocations. However, the crises that have deprived entire communities of their homeland and their identity are followed by moments of remembrance, reconciliation, and rebuilding. As the term ‘postcolonial’ sug¬gests, the formerly colonized people seek to revisit and re-investigate the impact of colo¬nization before committing it to collective memory. In a more specifically literary sec¬tion, texts are read as mythopoeia, fore¬grounding the aesthetic and poetic issues in colonial and postcolonial poems and novels. The texts explored here study in different ways the process of mytho¬logization through images of location and dislocation. The editors of this collection hope that readers worldwide will enjoy reading about the myths that have shaped and continue to shape postcolonial communities and nations.

CONTRIBUTORS
Elara Bertho, Dúnlaith Bird, Marie–Christine Blin, Jaine Chemmachery, André Dodeman, Biljana Đorić Francuski, Frédéric Dumas, Daniel Karlin, Sabine Lauret–Taft, Anne Le Guellec–Minel, Élodie Raimbault, Winfried Siemerling, Laura Singeot, Françoise Storey, Jeff Storey, Christine Vandamme
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Biographical Note

ANDRÉ DODEMAN is an Associate Professor at the University of Grenoble–Alpes in the Foreign Languages department. He has published articles on many Canadian contemporary writers and co-edited two books on postcolonial literature.
ÉLODIE RAIMBAULT is an Associate Professor at the University of Grenoble–Alpes. She has published on British writers of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, particularly Rudyard Kipling, focusing on cartographic and geopoetic representations of colonial territories.

Table of contents

List of Figures Introduction

P ART O NE : M YTHS OF N ATION -B UILDING

Woman as Goddess or Woman as Victim? The Role of Women in the Mahābhārata and Chitra Divakaruni’s The Palace of Illusions BILJANA ÐOR IĆ–FRANCUSK I ‘On a road between two cities’: Relocating the Myths of the Indian Nation in Amit Chaudhuri’s A Strange and Sublime Address (1991) and St Cyril Road and Other Poems (2005) JULIE BELUAU Framing the West: Myth and Art in Yosemite and Yellowstone’s Early Photographs MARIE–CHRIST INE BLIN How to Picket-Fence a Mountain: Myths of Domesticity and Dislocation in Isabella Bird’s Wild West DÚNLAITH BIRD The Tasmanian Tiger: From Extinction to Identity Myth in White Australian Society and Fiction ANNE LE GUELL EC–MINEL

P ART T WO : D IS/LOCATIONS : C LASHES AND C ONFLICTS

Migrant Myth: Freedom, Diaspora, and the Black Atlantic WINFR IED SIEMERLING Reworkings of a Literary Myth and Historical Construction: Nehanda (Zimbabwe) ELARA BERTHO Constructing and Deconstructing Myths of British Colonial Identity and Femininity in Mutiny Fiction: Meadows Taylor’s Seeta (1872) and Flora Annie Steel’s On the Face of the Waters (1897) JAINE CHEMMACHERY Novel Myths for a White Australasia: Dealing with the Native in Mark Twain’s Following the Equator FRÉDÉRIC DUMAS Transfiguration of Australian Founding Myths in Patrick White’s Fiction: Voss as an Iconoclastic Reinterpretation of the Explorer Myth CHRI ST INE VANDAMME

P ART T HREE : I MAGINARY D ISLOCATIONS : F ROM M YTHOPOEIA TO THE R ELOCATION OF M YTH

“In Vishnu-land what avatar?” Robert Browning and the Empire of Song DANIEL KARLIN Imagined Topographies of the Sundarbans in Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide SAB INE LAURET–TAFT Transcending Postcolonial Identity Through Myth: Yann Martel’s Life of Pi FRANÇOISE STOREY & JEFF STOREY Relocating the Mythical Self in Three Māori Novels: Potiki by Patricia Grace, The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera,and the bone people by Keri Hulme LAURA SINGEOT Notes on Contributors and Editors Index

Readership

Academics and graduate students interested in postcolonial literature and cultural studies, academic humanities libraries.