Creating a Nation: Peter Nazareth as Literary Critic


  • Saadi A. Simawe, Grinnell College, Iowa, USA


Peter Nazareth is a well known literary critic of African and Third World literatures. Using his most recent book, Edwin Thumboo: Creating a Nation Through Poetry, this essay analyses Nazareth’s critical thinking and identifies three basic components. The first component establishes that Nazareth is a communal critic, indicating the desire not to have one’s own voice dominating the discourse. The second component is Nazareth’s power of synthesis, which is the driving force behind his discourse. Synthesis generally means combining two different things to create a new thing. Born from three cultures, that is, African, Malayan, and Goan, this fragmentation becomes for Nazareth an urge for bridging, which later develops into a high artistic synthesising. The third component is the delight of influence, which constantly feeds synthesis and communal criticism. Not having anxieties about being influenced, Nazareth’s power of synthesis celebrates all influences in a complex textual pluralism.



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Author Biography

Saadi A. Simawe, Grinnell College, Iowa, USA

Born in southern Iraq, Saadi Simawe began writing poetry and fiction in prison in 1963-1968. In 1976 he left Iraq, and eventually earned his PhD in 1994 from the University of Iowa. In addition to many articles in Arabic and English on literature, politics, and culture, Simawe’s publications include fiction in Arabic and English as well as translations from both languages. In 2003, he edited and co-translated Iraqi Poetry Today, published from King’s College, London. Currently, Simawe is working on a novel entitled Shaving in the Dark.





How to Cite

Simawe, Grinnell College, Iowa, USA, S. A. (2009). Creating a Nation: Peter Nazareth as Literary Critic. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 3(1), 79–93. Retrieved from