Enigmatic Arrivals: A postcolonial analysis of Bangladeshi English literature
Abstract: In The Enigma of Arrival (1987), V.S. Naipaul evokes a picture of the English countryside of Wiltshire, his residence in England and constantly recalls images of his native Trinidad that are set against the English country atmosphere, ushering the presence of the colony in the post-imperial English countryside. He also attempts to negotiate and reevaluate his colonized ‘self’ with that of his writer’s ‘self’, shaped by imperial standards, hence, creating a sense of anxiety. Naipaul’s anxiety is also seen in the Bangladeshi English writers. While their works challenge the notion that literature can only be produced in one’s mother tongue, they are also susceptible to be branded as elitist. If we look at the works of some litt6rateurs who have consciously chosen English for literary purposes, we will find that their works embrace hybridity and challenge uniform national identity but at the same time the works are exclusive. This paper will look into the works of some post-1971 litterateurs who endorse postcolonial hybridity and whose conscious choice of English for creative writing challenges the notion of uniform Bengali identity. The paper will also show how elitism and alienation often creep into their works.
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Published in Fall 2010-11