Postcolonial Pacific Writing
Representations of the Body
Routledge – 2004 – 242 pages
This major new interdisciplinary study focuses on the representation of the body in the work of eight of Polynesia's most significant contemporary writers. Drawing on anthropology, psychoanalysis, philosophy, history and medicine, Postcolonial Pacific Writing develops an innovative postcolonial framework specific to the literatures and cultures of this region.
"The greatest strength of this book lies in its individual readings, and the elaboration of specific moments within the texts that open on to questions of embodiment and the politics of language. Similarly, the interdisciplinarity and the range of international and local theories offers a multi-perspectival approach which avoids totalising the diversity of geo-political, cultural, linguistic and literary representations… It is a rich and yet accessible book, a valuable study and scholarly resource" -- Chris Prentice, Journal of New Zealand
"I found Keown’s study impressively grounded in postcolonial "new literatures"; wide-ranging in its references to New Zealand secondary scholarship while steeped in postcolonial theory; and responsive to indigenous sociopoetics, history, and narrative modes. Given that the texts she selects are among those most readily available from US and New Zealand publishers, this canon-solidifying book—with its extensive bibliography—seems primed to be a useful supplement to Pacific literature syllabi." --Paul Lyons, The Contemporary Pacific
2. Postcolonial dystopias: race, allegory and the Polynesian body in the writing of Albert Wendt
3. 'Gauguin is dead': Sia Figiel and the Polynesian female body
4. Purifying the abject body: satire and scatology in Epeli Hau'ofa's Kisses in the Nederends
5. Alistair Te Ariki Campbell: mental illness and postcoloniality
6. Remoulding the body politic: Keri Hulme's The Bone People
7. Disease, colonialism and the national 'body': Witi Ihimaera's The Dream Swimmer
8. Language and the corporeal: Patricia Grace's Baby No-Eyes
9. The narcissistic body: Alan Duff's Once Were Warriors
10. Conclusion: reinscribing the Polynesian body
Michelle Keown is Lecturer in Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Stirling. She has published widely on Maori and Pacific writing.