Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis by John McLeod

By John McLeod

London's histories of migration and payment and the ensuing assorted, hybrid groups have engendered new kinds of social and cultural task mirrored in a wealth of novels, poems, movies and songs. Postcolonial London explores the innovative transformation of the town by way of African, Asian, Caribbean and South Pacific writers because the 1950s.
John McLeod engages freshly with the paintings of either recognized and emergent writers, together with Sam Selvon, Doris Lessing, V. S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, Colin MacInnes, Bernardine Evaristo, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Fred D'Aguiar. In interpreting a choose physique of writing in its social contexts and exploring contrasting attitudes to London's diasporic transformation, he strains an exhilarating background of resistance to the bias and racism that experience at the least partly characterized the postcolonial urban. Rewritings of London, he argues, undergo witness to the decision, mind's eye and creativity of the city's migrants and their descendants.
this can be a amazing learn of the ways that 'imperial centre' should be rewritten as postcolonial city. It represents crucial analyzing for these attracted to British or postcolonial literature, or in theorisations of the town and metropolitan tradition.

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Extra resources for Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis

Sample text

So, while we’re dancing, up come a policeman and arrested me. And while he was taking me out of the field, the English people boo him, they said, ‘Leave him alone! Let him enjoy himself. ’ And he had to let me loose, because he was embarrassed. So I took the crowd with me, singing and dancing, from Lords [sic], into Piccadilly in the heart of London. And while we’re singing and dancing and going to Piccadilly, the people opened their windows wondering what’s happening. I think it was the first time they’d ever seen such a thing in England.

An overriding tone of bleakness in Selvon’s representation of London is something which is only securely established much later, in the late 1960s and 1970s, and particularly in Eldorado West One and Moses Ascending, each written significantly after events such as the Notting Hill riots and a number of public endorsements of racism by politicians such as Enoch Powell. According to Barbadian writer George Lamming, a friend of Selvon’s who was also writing in and about London at the time, ‘I think that the event that really started to twist feelings was what were known as the Notting Hill riots.

MacInnes was, of course, a very different figure from Selvon. He had arrived in London at an earlier moment and as a consequence of a very different history. Whereas Selvon wrote from within the communities he depicted and attempted to mobilize the language of the folk which was also his own, MacInnes’s visions of London were voiced from a position of displacement from both the language and the people about whom he wrote – African and Caribbean newcomers, London’s affluent and energetic youth. Making a song and dance 41 In a parallel fashion, however, MacInnes discovered in popular cultural activity in postwar London the potential for envisaging social change in the city, and he too dared to project utopian visions of London as a way of contesting prejudice and violence.

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