Helen Tiffin


As George Lamming once remarked, over three quarters of the contemporary world has been directly and profoundly affected by imperialism and colonialism. Although it is clear just how profound an effect this has had on the social and political structures of the twentieth century and on the relations which exist between nations in our age, it has until recently been less clear how profoundly this has influenced the perceptive frameworks of the majority of people alive now. The day to day realities of colonized peoples were in large part generated for them by the impact of European discourses. But the contemporary art, philosophies and literature produced by post-colonial societies are not simply continuations or adaptations of European models. The processes of artistic and literary i/^colonization have involved a radical dis/mantling of European codes and a post-colonial subversion and appropriation of the dominant European discourses. This has frequently been accompanied by the demand for an entirely new or wholly recovered 'reality', free of all colonial taint. Given the nature of the relationship between colonizer and colonized, with its pandemic brutalities and its cultural denigration, such a demand is desirable and inevitable. But as the contradictions inherent in a project such as Chinweizu, Jemie and Madubuike's The Decolonization of African Literature demonstrate,' such pre-colonial cultural purity can never be fully recovered.



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