Projections of Paradise: Ideal Elsewheres in Postcolonial Migrant Literature

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Helga Ramsey-Kurz, Geetha Ganapathy-Doré
Rodopi, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 277 pages
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Paradise is commonly imagined as a place of departure or arrival, beginning and closure, permanent inhabitation of which, however much desired, is illusory. This makes it the dream of the traveller, the explorer, the migrant - hence, a trope recurrent in postcolonial writing, which is so centrally concerned with questions of displacement and belonging."Projections of Paradise "documents this concern and demonstrates the indebtedness of writers as diverse as Salman Rushdie, Agha Shahid Ali, Cyril Dabydeen, Bernardine Evaristo, Amitav Ghosh, James Goonewardene, Romesh Gunesekera, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Janette Turner Hospital, Penelope Lively, Fatima Mernissi, Michael Ondaatje, Shyam Selvadurai, M.G. Vassanji, and Rudy Wiebe to strikingly similar myths of fulfilment. In writing, directly or indirectly, about the experience of migration, all project paradises as places of origin or destination, as homes left or not yet found, as objects of nostalgic recollection or hopeful anticipation. Yet in locating such places, quite specifically, in Egypt, Zanzibar, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, the Sundarbans, Canada, the Caribbean, Queensland, Morocco, Tuscany, Russia, the Arctic, the USA, and England, they also subvert received fantasies of paradise as a pleasurable land rich with natural beauty. "Projections of Paradise "explores what happens to these fantasies and what remains of them as postcolonial writings call them into question and expose the often hellish realities from which popular dreams of ideal elsewheres are commonly meant to provide an escape.Contributors: Vera Alexander, Gerd Bayer, Derek Coyle, Geetha Ganapathy-Dore, Evelyne Hanquart-Turner, Ursula Kluwick, Janne Korkka, Marta Mamet-Michalkiewicz, Sofia Munoz-Valdieso, Susanne Pichler, Helga Ramsey-Kurz, Ulla Ratheiser, Petra Tournay-Thedotou.

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