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Deconstruction and the Ethics of Postcolonial Literary Interpretation
Cambridge Scholar Publihers
How does Spivak approach the signs the madwoman in the attic, the good black servant, the monster and the “wholly Other”? What is the basis of Spivak’s ethics of interpretation and what are her main tools? Gayatri Spivak: Deconstruction and the Ethics of Postcolonial Literary Interpretation is an ambitious and compelling critical work which answers various questions surrounding one of the most notoriously difficult literary theorists in our times. This book is an in-depth study of Spivak’s readings of a cluster of canonical and peripheral literary texts covering Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, Frankenstein, Foe and “Pterodactyl.” It divides Spivak’s literary theoretical practice into two phases; the first is de Manian and the second is Derridean. However, the book also shows that these two phases are not clearly independent from each other; rather, there are continuities between them. The theory resulting from these two phases can be described as affirmative postcolonial literary interpretation: Derridean in spirit but de Manian in technique. The book also meticulously defines Spivak’s position within the thought of Derrida, de Man and western feminists and reveals the possibilities available for readers who wish to ethically approach and interpret the sign of the “wholly Other,” which reaches in its scope “the native subaltern female.” Analysing Spivak’s literary interpretation as such, this book offers insights to postcolonial readers and provides them with new tools, such as “learning from below,” useful for reading not literature only, but also contemporary political, cultural and social issues from new perspectives.