Postcolonial Life and Death – Comparative Literature, 2014

“Postcolonial Life and Death: A Process-Based Comparison of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Ayu Utami’s Saman.” Comparative Literature 66.1 (2014): 95-112.

“the expectation that Wuthering Heights and Saman couldn’t possibly have anything in common makes a feature they do share (a scene) all the more visible. and the unexpectedness of the commonality invites further analysis, which reveals deeper cross-cultural, cross-historical commonalities of subject-matter — here, domestic colonization. from this point, an expectation of commonality— that they will portray domestic colonization in similar ways —prompts the discovery that their portrayals actually differ in a particularly crucial respect: in Wuthering Heights local culture is eradicated, whereas in Saman local culture persists. Difference is interrupted by similarity’s interjection, which is in turn interrupted by Difference again. if a dynamic exchange is to be opened up between the commensurability and incommensurability of texts under comparison, perhaps it will be opened up most effectively by a method that, like any dialogue, is process-based.

The second aim of this article is to show how Wuthering Heights and Saman, when read through this dialogic process, expose the limitations that a unilinear model of colonization may impose on life for the colonized subject after the onset of colonization. if Wuthering Heights figures pre-colonial and colonial modes of existence as occurring on a single chronological continuum, casting the former as possible only in an irretrievable past, Saman conceives of the two as existing parallel to each other.”

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