Avant-garde Orientalism: The Eastern 'Other' in by David LeHardy Sweet

By David LeHardy Sweet

This research explores the paintings of Western avant-garde writers who traveled to and wrote approximately Asia and North Africa. although exoticist in outlook, a lot of those writers have been additionally anti-colonialist and therefore shunned a few of the pitfalls of educational orientalism through assuming an aesthetics of range whereas making use of suggestions of provocation and reciprocity. As a survey of works on shuttle (including essays, novels, poems, and plays), the e-book demanding situations or modifies many postcolonial assumptions approximately Western writers at the Orient: from the French Surrealists to the yank Beats or even transnational authors of the recent millennium. via a synthesis of avant-garde, postcolonial, and commute literature theories, Avant-garde Orientalism works within the top culture of comparative literary examine to spot and study a unique type of global literature.

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The willingness to bridge that predetermined gap—a willingness based on a complicated attraction to Otherness that is a virtual roadmap of repression at home—thus entitles the exote to what he assumes to be feelings of gratitude for his generous admiration or, alternatively, fear of his terrible contempt. L. SWEET the authenticity of the premodern is pre-established as a mirror of the exoticist’s fantasies of difference rather than as a difference based on the recognition of cultural integrity and autonomy, though both share a fund of human sympathy.

34. See my discussion of Clifford in the introduction to Chap. 3, the genealogy. 35. I have tended to focus primarily on writers well known to readers of Western twentieth-century literature and who have a substantial oeuvre or a single work that focuses on a particular region or people of the Orient as its subject or setting. While there are women writers who have created works both in and about these contexts (oriental) and in this way (avant-garde) they are not numerous and their oeuvre is comparatively small.

L. SWEET mostly captured in what will seem, from the standpoint of the Avant-garde, an incidental genre: travel writing—if also in more traditional genres capitalizing on oriental settings, from poems to plays to novels. Avant-garde travel writers are relatively scarce within the movement or phenomenon as such and thus, as idiosyncratic or tangential participants (an other tradition within “the other tradition”37), their decision to represent an essentially touristic experience of Asia, Africa, or the Americas, constitutes an expansion and distortion of avant-garde values that is revealing.

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