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Decolonisation of Asia in the Eyes of Alan Sillitoe and Anthony Burgess

Adenan, Siti Saridah (2022) Decolonisation of Asia in the Eyes of Alan Sillitoe and Anthony Burgess. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92826) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:92826)

Language: English

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Post-war British working-class novels have largely been neglected from canonical works in postcolonial studies. In particular, Alan Sillitoe is often misread as a parochial writer, while his fictional commentaries on the Malayan decolonisation process exhibited in (Key to the Door 1961, The Open Door, 1989 and Last Loves, 1990) have been overlooked. There is also a tendency for studies on post-war British writing in the period of decolonisation to be inward-looking, and reluctant to engage with discussions about British colonies preparing for self-governance. This comparative study of the Malayan novels of Alan Sillitoe and Anthony Burgess aim to interrogate two key questions: how their texts respond to decolonisation of Malaya, and how their texts depart from earlier colonial writing that tend to rely on exotic settings and Orientalist tropes. This study examines their writing back to the colonial tradition and their employment of narrative strategies in relation to exotic portrayals of Eastern people, culture, and space in earlier colonial texts. I also assess their disparate treatments of the Malayan Emergency and anti-colonial movements in their writing. My reading of their texts reveals that they deconstruct the notion of 'white mythology' in traditional colonial writing, criticising its underlying racist assumptions. Sillitoe's protagonists display solidarity between the British working-class and the colonised subjects in working towards overthrowing colonial governments, while Burgess's narratives commit to a de-exoticising project. However, Burgess's narratives do not fully succeed in dispelling all traces of colonial tropes; in fact, they tend to recirculate them. Meanwhile, Sillitoe's texts carry a universalist message that transcends nationalism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Hickman, Ben
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92826
Uncontrolled keywords: Sillitoe, Burgess, working-class, post-war British fiction, decolonisation, Malaya
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN851 Comparative Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2022 08:19 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2022 12:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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