Abstract

There is much critical commentary on the use of palimpsest as a metaphor in postcolonial writing for the violent imposition of colonial culture and indeed, this emphasis is warranted. Less noted, however, is the element of seduction involved in the concept of hegemonic control in colonial or imperial situations and in postcolonial fiction. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the use of these concepts in the popular and critically acclaimed postcolonial novels, Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace (2000) and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000). While palimpsest — as metaphor and technique — is evident in both, this essay argues that the idea of seduction plays an important part in the understanding and representation of complex colonial relationships in both novels.

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