Gregory Nalponâ€™s â€œThe Rose and the Silver Keyâ€: A Historicist Reading
Gregory Nalpon, while today a virtually forgotten Singaporean writer, represents one of the most unique, imaginative and colourful voices in Singapore fiction, c. 1960-80. This paper focusses on Nalponâ€™s most well-known, and perhaps most accomplished short story, â€œThe Rose and the Silver Key.â€ By subjecting Nalponâ€™s story to a careful historicist reading I suggest that the distinctive qualities of â€œThe Rose and the Silver Keyâ€ derive from both the specific moment and the normally marginalised figures represented, as well as Nalponâ€™s fairly unique stance, in the Singapore as Indian, trades unionist and â€œgentleman of leisure.â€ At the same time this historicist reading complements Frank Brennanâ€™s earlier benevolent reading, revealing â€œThe Rose and the Silver Keyâ€ as mediated and often beguilingly ambiguous social critique of the colonial city c. 1960 and the nation state c. 1978.
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