20th Century African and American Writers: Cultural identity, protest, and regeneration in a century of war

David T. Lohrey

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This dissertation examines the relationship between war and postcolonial identity in a range of African and American literature. This inquiry focuses on twentieth century literature of the displaced author', as expressed in fictional writings which show the ways personal trauma are reflective of collective experience. This study explores the ways a number of indicative postcolonial writers have presented psychological and political consequences of postwar trauma across generations. It will analyse different forms of violence that animate the genealogy of the postcolonial past and how they impact on the present. It explores the relationship between imperialism and totalitarianism as it is manifested in the British, Nazi and American empires of the last century; it suggests continuities into the twenty-first. It argues that World War I and World War II have had a profound impact on shaping the way life has been lived as seen in work by African writers such as Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, and Doris Lessing, and Americans, such as Saul Bellow, Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, Leslie Marmon Silko, and John Edgar Wideman. Through the critical writings of Edward Said, Achille Mbembe, and Homi Bhabha, to name a few, my thesis considers the centrality of disorder to the formation of postcolonial response. My study develops a method for reading canonical texts of postcolonial writers as narratives of protest, transgression, and regeneration, and it seeks to produce an understanding of the problems of fictionalising complex relations of class, sexuality, gender and race in the context of upheaval.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Gilbey, David, Principal Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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