Chapter

You <i>can</i> get there from here: critique and utopia in Benita Parry's thought

Laura Chrisman

in Postcolonial Contraventions

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780719058271
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700136 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719058271.003.0012
You can get there from here: critique and utopia in Benita Parry's thought

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This chapter focuses on the interplay of critique and affirmation in Parry's work. It begins by looking at her analysis of ethnic solipsism in the metropole, while also discussing her contribution to the understanding of resistance. Parry is concerned to analyse the problem of the left's non-engagement with colonialism, locating as crucial the ‘shift away from the political’ in European Marxism that began in the 1930s. Her accounts of metropolitan fiction writers demonstrate the refusal to subscribe to white racial or European continental essentialism. Furthermore, in Parry's resistance writings, changes of style that are also changes in political conceptualization can be seen. Her Oxford Literary Review makes heavy use of the ‘discourse’ word, which it uses interchangeably to designate aesthetic literature and anti-colonial political thought. Taking up Parry's critical cue, it is suggested that her relative lack of engagement with the aesthetic accomplishments of anti-colonial and post-colonial cultures is perhaps where her own historical utopian imagination gives way to a critical sensibility nourished by more restrictive metropolitan aesthetic values.

Keywords: ethnic solipsism; colonialism; European continental essentialism; political conceptualization; aesthetic literature; colonial culture; metropolitan aesthetic values

Chapter.  4223 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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