Chapter

Critical overview and conclusion

Andrew Teverson

in Salman Rushdie

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780719070501
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701225 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719070501.003.0011
Critical overview and conclusion

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Timothy Brennan, in his critical study Salman Rushdie and the Third World, identifies Rushdie as being a member of a distinctive and historically original group of writers that has come to prominence in the period following the formal dissolution of the British Empire. These writers are described by Brennan as Third World cosmopolitans: migrant intellectuals who are identified with a Western metropolitan elite in terms of class, literary preferences and educational background, but who, by virtue of ethnicity, are also presented by the media and publishing industries as being ‘the interpreters and authentic public voices of the Third World’. Brennan's central thesis is that Rushdie's socio-cutural location compromises his viability as a political writer, a thesis which has provoked some of the most important critical responses to Rushdie's work. Few if any of these critical responses disagree with Brennan's broad location of Rushdie as a migrant, cosmopolitan intellectual. The source of disagreement, rather, concerns the degree to which Rushdie's political arguments are undermined by this location, and by the structures of thinking that his location tends to implicate him in.

Keywords: Salman Rushdie; Timothy Brennan; Third World cosmopolitans; political writers

Chapter.  7612 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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