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The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  337 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The experience of colonization and the challenges of a post-colonial world have produced an explosion of new writing in English. This diverse and powerful body of literature has established a specific practice of post-colonial writing in cultures as various as India, Australia, the West Indies and Canada, and has challenged both the traditional canon and dominant ideas of ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published October 25th 2002 by Routledge (first published September 21st 1989)
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May 24, 2013 ·Karen· rated it liked it
'Are you sure you want to mark this book as read?'

There should be another alternative between 'cancel' and 'OK', one more like well, more or less, yes. I think so.

I have a lot of issues with this book, most of which, most disarmingly, were addressed in chapter 6, 'Re-Thinking the Post-Colonial'. Others were not.

Objections that Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin are aware of because I'm obviously not the first person to raise them

The first question that arose in my mind arrived with the very first s
Aug 30, 2009 Madeline rated it did not like it
Shelves: assigned-reading, ugh
Things That Would Have Made This Book Sort Of Bearable:
-If Ashcroft had been aware that most people, upon seeing the title, would immediately think of the Star Wars movie. Considering that the book is about post-colonial literature, this makes no sense. If it's the Empire that's "writing back" it can't be post-colonial because they were technically the colonizers. A much more logical title would have been "The Rebellion Writes Back."
I spent an entire English log entry writing about how much this
Mar 03, 2016 Maira rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about the oriental and occidental system. A must read for us Pakistani's because of our own colonial history and the psychological effect it has on our minds in post-colonial times.
Rachel Rueckert
Oct 11, 2010 Rachel Rueckert rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in Postcolonail Theory
Shelves: africa, india
Reading this book was extremely helpful in putting postcolonial literature into perspective. Considering the content, it was also fairly easy to digest. Until reading this book I had been frustrated by some of the slang and accents of “english” (the different, but not lesser evolution of the English language in various countries) of postcolonial literature, or discouraged when I was not given a dictionary to make sense of it. I still have a lot of questions, especially since my personal experien ...more
May 06, 2012 Andreea rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, theory
Things that are wrong with this book (or its first 13 pages because afterwards I lost patience):

1. ignores the possibility of experience of colonialism in Europe (e.g. in Ireland)

2. purports to talk about post-colonialism as a phenomenon happening in all colonies, but never talks about non-Anglophone cultural phenomenons

3. says contemporary American literature is postcolonial (?!?!?!?) and Henry James' moving to England was the result of the colony wanting to be more English than the English (ne
Mawa Mahima
I've read this in exactly three months.


This is the piece you need to read in order to understand postcolonial literary theory. It has a great collection of works by postcolonial writers and its bibliography is brilliantly rich. I am curious to explore this region of English Lit more, because not only does it relate to literature but a lot of what is said in here relates completely to my life.


Examine whether postcolonial literatures are a response to something i.e. in terms of
Judul : Menelanjangi Kuasa Bahasa :Teori dan Praktik Sastra Poskolonial
Penulis : Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffeths, dan Helen Tiffin
Penerbit : Qalam, Yogyakarta
Tahun terbit : 2004
Tebal : xvi+393 halaman
Akhir-akhir ini wacana tentang poskolonialisme mencuat menjadi salah satu wacana intelektual utama, khususnya di Negara-negara bekas jajahan. Bagi masyarakat Negara-negara tersebut, tidak dapat dipungkiri, poskolonialisme memang merupakan wacana yang sangat menarik dan teoritis menantang. Ini mungk
Terri Lynn
Apr 22, 2014 Terri Lynn rated it did not like it
Shelves: academic
If I had to describe this book in one word it would be "unreadable". I was forced to read this for a graduate seminar but I think it needs to literally be burned (and I am usually against book-burning!). It can't get any more boring than this wallpaper paste of a book. In fact, what the hell does it mean?

Post colonial, to the authors, means that any nation that had colonizers, needs to revert back to whatever their language and writing was like before. They include the USA which is about as abs
Nidhi Mahajan
I will not rate this book because I don't know how to appropriately rate a book of theory.

However, I would definitely say that this book is not for a lay-reader, or for someone who is looking for an introduction to post-colonial theory. This book was recommended to me as an undergraduate student in a Literary Theory class. I have only gotten around to reading it now (for research purposes) as a post-graduate student, and I am glad that is the case, simply because the book draws on a varied set
Megan Anderson
Jun 03, 2016 Megan Anderson rated it really liked it
Empire was the textbook for my Post-Colonial International Literature class in college. I love that Jake and I kept our textbooks. When we were taking 18 credit hours, even if we were assigned an entire book to read over a semester, there was too much to learn to really soak up a text as a whole. I like that I can go back to them now to fully understand the arguments presented and the information given.

It’s an advanced textbook and is pretty dense, as it is theory based. A working knowledge of c
Aug 18, 2016 Darius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My updates until now speak for themselves. Empire Writes Back is highly informative of a subject in critical discourse analysis that deserves even greater attention paid to it. This book is the definitive edition on all things post-colonial. Expansively detailed, Empire Writes Back is filled with scholarly references that describe, analyze, and theorize the conditions of the colonized in history, their encounters with colonizer and settler cultures (exploitation, subjugation, and all), and the e ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Barbi rated it really liked it
I'll admit that my favorite aspect of this book is the Star Wars reference in the title. But beyond that, this is a fantastic introduction to post-colonial theory and studies that I probably should have read when I began to develop an interest in post colonial theory. It's certainly accessible to an undergraduate college student--the language isn't at all obtuse, and it provides a pretty thorough overview of African, Caribbean, and settler post-colonial theories, which is probably pretty helpful ...more
This book is okay for what it is, which is a brief overview and guide to postcolonial theory. The authors do focus primarily on linguistics, literature, and the control of means of communication, so one aspect that the book downplays is revolutionary politics and violent anti-colonial theory. But I think it's also a fairly accurate picture that the most influential postcolonial theorists have been focused on language issues.
One other issue I have with the book is the tendency to discuss various
Aug 26, 2014 Lilli rated it it was ok
The authors seem to mix up terms such as post-colonialism and post-coloniality. The book functions at parts as a summary of others' critics without contextualizing those within the work of those critics. There is no distinction between the colonized areas and their responses to colonization, as if colonization was a monolithic phenomenon. I've only read 25% of the book so far, but sentences like this "The following passage from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn demon- strates how subtly yet complete ...more
Haythem Bastawy
Aug 06, 2014 Haythem Bastawy rated it liked it
This is the first time I revisit the book after seven years of studying it as a text book in my first degree. Unfortunately, The Empire Writes Back is slightly disappointing. It provides snapshots of Postcolonial theories and literary texts which do not stand up to its panoramic goal, due to them being too concentrated leading to a lacking in the cohesion of the whole book.

Moreover the dichotomy created between the so called main stream standard 'English' and the 'englishes' of the empire is an
Dec 12, 2013 Jamila rated it it was ok
Other reviewers here have already pinpointed the problems of this text so I won't go into too much detail. This book is somewhat useful towards becoming generally familiar with some of the discourse in post-colonial theory and influential academics in the field. It is also a great read when looked at as "How not to write a 'Introduction To' Book." I wish I could have put in a post-it for every line I read that I thought, "Well that's problematic!" but I would quickly run out of post its. Here's ...more
Nov 07, 2007 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthologies
It was less of a slog than much academia and it helped me answer some questions I’ve had about my own writing: How do I decide when to leave words in Spanish (or Zapotec, or Mixe, or Huave)? How do I negotiate the differences between intended and perceived meaning when stories are transmitted between two very different cultures?
This book appears to be a fairly good introduction to the basics of post-colonial literary theory. However, I must question the decision to keep a text written 25 years ago as the theory portion of a course on the topic. What the frick, Oulu Uni?
Monica Martin
It felt like the authors just realised what a thesaurus was and wanted to quote anything and everything they could, making the reading awkward and disconnecting. However saying that there were some good quotes, and and new ideas.
Peter Greenwell
Jul 27, 2015 Peter Greenwell rated it really liked it
Extremely dense reading and of absolutely no interest to anyone outside those interested in or studying literary theory, but in many ways, this is the final word in postcolonial theory. Yes, it was a required textbook, but I found it fascinating withal.
Shauna Plain and Tall
Dec 04, 2010 Shauna Plain and Tall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-nerd
A great collection. Great asset to anyone trained in history or any bibliophile with a love for historical fiction.
Michael Bryson
Mar 31, 2015 Michael Bryson rated it liked it
Recommended to Michael by:
Shelves: lit-crit
Okay. Didn't actually finish this, but had enough of it. Learned some things, like it generally, but I can only take so much theory at any one time.
Luther rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2016
Jon Bendera
Jon Bendera rated it it was amazing
Oct 27, 2013
Lola Ayodele
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Dec 09, 2013
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Aug 05, 2016
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Jul 13, 2013
Lizzie Anstiss
Lizzie Anstiss rated it it was amazing
Apr 26, 2015
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Mar 10, 2008
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