Postcolonial literature has always been described as attempting to refute colonial images. There has been a clear separation between the two realms: the colonial and the postcolonial. This book seeks to narrow the chasm between colonial discourse and postcolonial theory by illustrating how postcolonial theory draws upon the colonial images to establish its legitimacy and credibility. As a case study, a number of Arabic literary and non-literary texts are examined to reflect their being influenced by orientalist discourse. Starting with a general theoretical introduction to Postcolonialism, the book provides a reading of orientalism and its historical roots then reviews the first-generation authors who established the East-West dichotomy. Finally, the pioneer authors, who problematized the binary opposition attitude, which characterizes the relationship between the two worlds, are discussed in detail. The book aims to establish that the postcolonial counter-image carries within it the seeds of the very discourse it attempts to refute. No reply can evade the premise of the question. The original statement constitutes the structure, manner, and style of the reply. No counter-image, therefore, can escape the foundations of the original image. The image of the Orient as represented by Arab nationalism, and Postcolonialism in general, derives its legitimacy from the vocabulary of the colonizer; it engages in similar tropes to describe the Orient and/or the oriental. This method, which the book calls counter-imaging, is a process of rewriting or redrawing of the Orient. Counter-imaging is used here to mean any attempt to modify, reform, or modernize the Orient based on some ideas borrowed from the West, especially from the orientalist discourse. The application of these Western ideas to situations that are purely Eastern privileges the European episteme and posits its universality. This is a critical study on the relationship between the orientalist discourse and the postcolonial expression with emphasis given to their bilateral effect upon each other, far from being two unconnected realms of expression and representation.
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Mohammed Alquwaizani is a professor of English literature at Imam University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2002. His research interests include orientalism, postcolonialism, critical theory, and Arabic Literature. He published in various regional and international journals.
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