In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS nities, the topos seems to establish a slim, subliminal possibility for shared symbolism . Teachers ofWestern literature may recall how Catholic and Protestant students can both recognize their own religious positions in Goethe's Faust. Still, despite the affinities that comparatists might feel with this book's crosscultural range, they will not find much direct engagement with their field, in the spirit of Edward Said's remarks on Erich Auerbach in Culture and Imperialism. One essay mentions Salman Rushdie's connection with the idea of"comparative world literature in English" (363), but does not develop the argument. Françoise Lionnet comments pointedly on cultural comparisons, but despite her contribution to the Bernheimer report on comparative literature, she has anthropology in mind here. Her conclusion, that "it is not the existence ofdifferent cultures that induces a comparative . . . approach," but a comparatist stance that "creates an arbitrary and singular object" which becomes the given culture (121), implies that comparative literature encourages some ofthe very divisions it proposes to remedy. Instead of these "separate but equal" categories, Lionnet and many of her fellow essayists prefer to invoke creolism, métissage, and especially hybridity, all ofwhich involve cultural identities which mingle several traditions and thus defy simple labels. Nonetheless, when Lionnet argues for concepts oftransculturation and appropriation over acculturation and assimilation (116), comparatists may sense a covert link with their field. After all, in Harold Bloom's "strong poet" reaching maturity or Viktor Shklovsky's image ofart as a non-linear knight's move, the idea ofliterary influence made a similar turn away from imitation and borrowing and toward transformation and absorption. Postcolonialism, it would appear, keeps these attitudes , but shifts them from the individual writer's creative trajectory to a cultural plane, where they are associated with centralized power, its impact on subordinated groups, and their struggle for greater freedom and richness of expression. The value of this wide-ranging book is enhanced by a thorough index of names and titles, though key concepts might also have been included. The only glaring omission is the absence ofnotes on the contributors, whose home institutions and other publications are not always easy to discover. On the other hand, the book's concern with pedagogy as well as criticism and theory will undoubtedly be helpful to readers who want to broaden the range of their teaching. Order and Partialities is clearly an important and stimulating book for comparatists eager to learn what the varied initiatives of postcolonial study can bring to their own crosscultural work in literature and culture. John Burt Foster, Jr. George Mason University IHAB HASSAN. Between the Eagle andthe Sun: Traces ofJapan. Tuscaloosa and London: U ofAlabama P, 1996. xix + 206 pp. In recent years, some ofthe most exciting work in cultural studies, ethnography , and comparative literature has been done by scholars like Rosi Braidotti, Homi Bhabha, James Clifford, and Edward Said. These scholars seek to make sense ofan increasingly interactive contemporary world by focusing on the material and discurVoI . 21 (1997): 152 THE COMPAKATIST sive ramifications of travel, cultural hybridity, diaspora, and related categories. Hassan pursues a comparable line ofthought. In an essay published in 77ie Southern Review (29:3, July 1993), he writes that although born in Egypt, he suffers "from no sense ofexile" in America; yet he also stresses that a home—be it a natural or a chosen one—is not a fixed place but "an attitude, a readiness for death and dispossession , a kind ofself-heedlessness that makes the entire universe a home" (460). As the title ofhis new book, Between the Eagle andthe Sun, suggests, Hassan confesses that his visits to Japan have taught him something about "dispossession, homelessness" (xv). But he does not simply regard himself as a kind of "freefloating " nomadic subject suspended somewhere in the wide cultural space between America and Japan. Instead, Hassan's textual practice constitutes itselfas a continual process of cultural resituating, ofre-discovering his authorial identity as a persona temporarily living among non-Western others and seeing himself"sometimes as another" (xvi). Hence he relies less on the psychological model ofprojecting oneselfinto the situation ofthe other, or on the Gadamerian notion ofthe fusion ofhorizons, than on Bakhtin's rehabilitation of...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0887
Print ISSN
0195-7678
Pages
pp. 152-155
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.