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Hosts and hostages: Mass immigration and the power of hospitality in post-war British and Caribbean literature

Whittle, Matthew (2015) Hosts and hostages: Mass immigration and the power of hospitality in post-war British and Caribbean literature. Comparative Critical Studies, 11 . pp. 77-92. ISSN 1744-1854. E-ISSN 1750-0109. (doi:10.3366/ccs.2014.0145) (KAR id:63714)


This article examines the challenge to colonialist centre-periphery relations in post-war novels by white British and Caribbean writers. Concentrating on the relationship between political debates surrounding mass immigration and the marginalization of non-white migrants within British communities, I analyse texts that depict the threshold of the home as the politicized site of racial tension, namely Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners (1956), V.S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men (1967), Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958), and Anthony Burgess’s The Right to an Answer (1960). In varying ways, these texts depict the durability of centre-periphery relations at local levels through the informal segregation of the colonizer and the colonized. In doing so they point to what Jacques Derrida has outlined, in Of Hospitality (2000), as the power relationship inherent in policies of immigration, whereby the host-nation remains in control of the conditions upon which hospitality rests.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3366/ccs.2014.0145
Uncontrolled keywords: Mass immigration, Windrush, post-war literature, Anthony Burgess, Alan Sillitoe, Sam Selvon, VS Naipaul, Jacques Derrida
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Matt Whittle
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2017 14:43 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 08:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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