Resurgence of Identity in V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River

Dr. Parvir


The rise of the novel coincides with the birth of the nation. Africa has long been a part of the literature of imperialism beginning in the late eighteenth century and flourishing in the nineteenth century. The ideology of nationalism seeded out of imperialism and formulated its aspirations in the soil of foreign conquest. In order for British nationalism and nationhood to flourish, “Africa” becomes a necessary construct within those discourses. In other becomes words, Africa becomes a necessary object in relation to which the West can define itself, thereby affirming its own identity and implied authority. The physicality of the African subject in Heart of Darkness perpetuates the racial discourses employed by the West in their representation of the Africa subject; differences read as primordial, essential and natural. The textual histories constructing discourses of Africa and African identity are located in the disciplines and genres of colonial anthropologies, travel narratives locate and imagine the concept of Africa. Europe’s sense of nationhood is inextricably linked with its former colonial margins. The notion of modernity as a European invention becomes an essential trope in discourses within which Europe locates itself and constructs the difference of its racial and cultural others.

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