Globalization and world literature – does contemporary postcolonial novel inform a new critical cosmopolitanism?
Criticism on cultural globalization is divided into two main approaches: the first positively evaluates transnational flows (Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large, 1996), such as migrations, cultural hybridity, translation of languages and cultures, and nomadism of theory; the second approach fosters a negative description of cultural globalization as an integral part of globalized capital (Fredric Jameson, Masao Miyoshi, Arif Dirlik). The Anglophone postcolonial novel which emerged as a revolt against defining literature from the former British empire as Commonwealth Literature, is a literary phenomenon described famously by Salman Rushdie as “the Empire writes back with a vengeance” (1982). Postcolonial literature is engaged in the dialog with the canon and heritage of the English langauge (and writing). Its goal is to show the autonomy of this literature, its equality with the English canon, and, most of all, its power to undermine the center/periphery dichotomy. Currently this bipolarity is getting dispersed into many directions, and the postcolonial meets and passes into the global. In my paper, I am going to discuss main features of postcolonial novel in the context of globalization and the incipient problem of world literature. Discussing briefly the history of the concept via Goethe and Bakhtin, I claim that postcolonial novel has a chance to develop into the properly world literature. Although some postcolonial novel trades cultural difference to the metropolitan consumer craving for multicultural goods, the innovation and vitality of this novel proves that it still has the power to invent the genre anew. I argue that the key question about today’s world literature is whether it may provide an alternative to the homogenizing sweep of globalization – an alternative called “critical cosmopolitanism” (Walter Mignolo), or “grassroots globalization” (Arjun Appadurai).Otwórz Artykuł