“Trapped Between Worlds”: The Function of Memory, History and Body in the Fiction of Tan Twan Eng

Authors

  • Bernard Wilson

Abstract

This paper takes as its starting point Homi Bhabha’s explanation of culture and diversity in his essay The Location of Culture (1994), in which he denotes cultural meaning as existing in a transitional space between clashing cultures and, associatively, between competing histories. The cultural space to which Bhabha refers offers a path to a reinvention of the hybrid self (and nation) beyond the more restrictive parameters of what Foucault has termed “the inscribed surface of events†(Foucault, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History†344) that the body represents. With reference to Bhabha’s delineation of spatial awareness and Foucault’s observations of power discourse and the body as a site of knowledge and discursion but also as an inhibiting site of colonisation, and in light of previous English-language Malaysian fiction, I will examine the ways in which Tan Twan Eng (1972-) investigates the conundrum of memory and historical inscription, and his textual approach to the vexed questions of self-determinism and postcolonial agency in his novels, The Gift of Rain (2007) and The Garden of the Evening Mists (2012).

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Published

2018-12-30

How to Cite

Wilson, B. (2018). “Trapped Between Worlds”: The Function of Memory, History and Body in the Fiction of Tan Twan Eng. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 12(2), 46–64. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/1327

Issue

Section

Section II: Twenty-First Century Malaysian Literature