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Postcolonial Irony: Time, Subject, and History in the Critical Writings of Wilson Harris

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Chapter Summary

A singular conception of dwelling is articulated through a complex phenomenology of space. This chapter further argues that the asymmetry, when conceived in the positive sense, offers an irreducibly ironic perspective to the phenomenality of dwelling and to the subjectivity of the native dweller. Time is the reference, so to speak, of the ironic scale. The architecture of space is temporal in that it designates, through a subtle dialectic, a temporalising of space and a spacing of time. The historical convention, which includes not only the colonial historiography but also certain progressive history writing, consolidates the documentary stasis of imperialism and fatally ignores the native consciousness. In Harris, the post-colonial divide is phenomenologically articulated. Harris's phenomenological history, original in regard to the post-colonial societies and yet capable of universal application, has thus, in its essential core, a drama in which the divide is transfigured into a passage.

Keywords: imperialism; phenomenological history; post-colonial divide; Wilson Harris



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