Tag: Postcolonial

How to Make Worlds

We might be tempted to think of the “world” in “world literature” as a spatial category. This “world” would designate the vast space beyond national borders, beyond the fiction of “Western ...

The Afterlife of Agent Orange

“All wars are fought twice,” writes Viet Thanh Nguyen in Nothing Ever Dies, “the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” Even decades after the first war ends, the second war can ...

Always Already Translated

Here are some common metaphors for thinking about translation: as a ferryman (a word that derives from the Latin transferre), as a new set of garments, and as resurrection or afterlife. These ...

Tales of the Interwar

Today, the once-provocative suggestion that we live in an age of interminable warfare has become a truism. The claim often takes the form of an observation about the post-9/11 syndrome that drives an ...

Afrofuturism: Everything and Nothing

Whence the “Afro” in “Afrofuturism”? In the 1994 interview with Samuel R. Delaney that inaugurated the term, Mark Dery defines Afrofuturism as “speculative fiction that treats African American themes ...

O My Swineherd!

The last century may have ushered in an epoch of wars that have no end, but Homer’s Odyssey continues to inspire. You do not have to be James Joyce or Derek Walcott to find the story of a man’s ...

A Muslim Future to Come?

The devastating attacks of November 13 on Paris’s 10th and 11th arrondissements viciously targeted the “progressive” heart of the city. When I am there, that is where I live. Like many other ...

Why Boys Must Cry

In contemporary Nigerian literature, muscular heroes of postcolonial independence have lost their swagger. Today’s patriarchs read like quaint fogies, stomping their feet about government, money, and ...

The Social Lives of Form

Over the past 15 years, the interest in form that has long characterized literary studies has grown into a movement in its own right—the so-called “new formalism.” While its generative debates are no ...

Stunt Double: Twice Fallen

The wounds of civil wars last. You can forgive a stranger, but family and neighbors, that’s another story. In America, the Confederate flag still raises old myths and divisions. In Algeria, the ...

Love and Death in Indian Country

At its core, David Treuer’s latest novel is a tale of unrequited love and random violence. The stuff of melodrama, to be sure, but in Treuer’s skillful, multi-vocal telling, neither love nor death ...

Marlon James’s Savage Business

The irony in the title of Marlon James’s new novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, is twofold. For one, this 686-page book is far from brief. On the contrary, it is a raucous, nearly ...