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Fragmented Imperial Spaces in E. M. Forster’s Howards End and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Written in different time periods but set in the time of imperial expansion, E. M. Forster’s Howards End (1910) and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) offer a critical exploration of British imperialism and its aftermath. What similarities and what differences do these novels have in portraying imperialism? More specifically, do they portray modern imperialism in radically different and mutually exclusive ways since one is set in the center of the British Empire and the other in a peripheral colony? The essay draws on Frederic Jameson’s argument about modernism, and Howards End in particular, that the center representatively excludes the periphery in its literary works. By comparing the two novels, the essay explores these issues and asks whether the British Empire is structurally incomplete in its representation in early twentieth century canonical modernist novels? Moreover, does this theory of exclusivity extend to include modern canonical African novels written a few decades later? By analyzing Howards End and Things Fall Apart, the essay examines the hypothesis that the center and the periphery are indeed mutually exclusive in their literary productions. The conclusions reached require some significant modifications to Jameson’s theory. It was found that Howards End does indeed structurally exclude the periphery. However, the same cannot be said for Things Fall Apart, which structurally incorporates the center. Thus, Jameson’s theory does not extend beyond early twentieth century modernist novels. Moreover, Forster’s novel, although it does suffer from Jameson’s criticism, shows critical awareness of this disabling disconnection from the periphery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 17 p.
Keyword [en]
Imperialism, modernity, space, symbolism, characterization
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87575OAI: diva2:604629
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2013-02-11 Last updated: 2014-01-22Bibliographically approved

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Woubshet Ayele, Tesfaye
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