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Sites of (Post)colonial Becomings: Body, Land and Text in the Writings of Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott, Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani

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posted on 13.09.2013, 08:34 by Dania Meryan
This thesis explores the reflexive relationship between sites of body, land and text and the potential of becoming in each one of them, in the literary works of four postcolonial writers: Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott, Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani. The study suggests a cross-cultural literary alliance between the Caribbean and Palestinian literatures by means of utilising theories of nomadic writing and ‘necropolitics’ in order to investigate the three physical territories of body, land, and text as ‘sites of becoming’. Engaging with a diverse range of theorists including, Gilles Deleuze, Achille Mbembe, Frantz Fanon, Emmanuel Levinas, Michel Agier, Edward Said, Zygmunt Bauman, Judith Butler and Edouard Glissant among others, this thesis investigates the possibility of representing violent pasts inscribed on lands and bodies in texts, and contends that the very impossibility of representation of bruised memory is what opens a literary space for the postcolonial writer to write on the wounds of history and give voice to the dispossessed. In the introduction to this thesis, the rationale and theoretical framework of the study is offered. The chapter on Wilson Harris’s Palace of the Peacock and Jonestown focuses on literary postcolonies used by Harris to suggest chaos theory as an alternative to linear narratives and a formula for transcending historical traumas. The study then moves to investigate Derek Walcott’s Omeros and the author’s attempt at crossing the literary parallels with the Homeric literary tradition. The chapter on Mahmoud Darwish explores the poet’s threatened longings for his Beloved/Land and how he encrypts desire in his literary writing. The politicized subject as an emblem of becoming is discussed in Ghassan Kanafani’s Men In The Sun and All That’s Left To You. In the conclusion, a crystallization of the main argument is given.



Fowler, Corinne; Farrier, David; Campbell, Gordon

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University of Leicester

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