The Unquiet Dreams of Lesser Malaysian Writers
Tradition and the Global Malaysian Novel
Using the ‘Global Malaysian Novel’ as a focal point, my paper demonstrates how the emergence of this critical conceptualization is a shift that problematizes traditional postmodern and postcolonial modes that have not yet transcended the nation as a frame of reference. When ‘Global Malaysian Novels’ are being written, marketed and sold outside Malaysian borders, to what extent do these texts retain their capacity for representation: Asian identities, national identities, regional and diasporic? While a critique of their complicity in Global Literary Markets centered in the U.K. and U.S. is often reduced to an ad hominem attack, there remains much to be said about the effects of their increasingly transnational material productions upon their more formally understood aesthetic and literary qualities. As such, I explore the discursive effects of the ‘Global Malaysian Novel’ as a transnational production in Southeast Asia, and how literary scholars have approached contemporary Asian literatures and attempted to situate them within realms of the national, within postcolonial Southeast Asia and within wider World Literature frameworks. In particular, I chart not only the historical production of literary texts written in English in Southeast Asia since 1945, but the current discourse of English Literary studies in the region.
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