Absolutely postcolonial: writing between the singular and the specific

Hallward, Peter (2002) Absolutely postcolonial: writing between the singular and the specific. Manchester, U.K. : Manchester University Press. 433p. ISBN 0719061261


This is an interdisciplinary text. Its philosophical intent is pursued largely via the interpretation and analysis of material that is literary-theoretical and historical-political in character. The book sets out to analyse the thought of several leading figures in contemporary philosophy, literary theory and postcolonial literature in terms of the way they individuate the terms that populate the philosophical or literary universes they invent. The philosophical argument of the book is that contrary to its usual characterisation in terms of plurality, particularity and resistance, the ‘postcolonial' is best understood as an ultimately singular, absolute or non-relational category, i.e. one that generates the medium of its own existence (roughly in keeping with Spinoza's conception of substance or Deleuze's conception of difference). Drawing on the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou and guided by comparisons with Buddhism and Islam, Absolutely Postcolonial defends this approach through both a detailed critique of postcolonial theory and comparative readings of four very different contemporary writers: Edouard Glissant (Martinique), Charles Johnson (USA), Mohammed Dib (Algeria), and Severo Sarduy (Cuba).

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