Colony, Nation and Globalisation: Not at Home in Singaporean and Malaysian Literature

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By Eddie Tay

The literature of Malaysia and Singapore, the multicultural epicenter of Asia, offers a rich body of source material for appreciating the intellectual heritage of colonial and postcolonial Southeast Asia. Focusing on themes of home and belonging, Eddie Tay illuminates many aspects of identity anxiety experienced in the region, and helps construct a dialogue between postcolonial theory and the Anglophone literatures of Singapore and Malaysia. A chronologically ordered selection of texts is examined, including Swettenham, Bird, Maughham, Burgess, and Thamboo. This genealogy of works includes colonial travel writings and sketches as well as contemporary diasporic novels by Malaysians and Singapore-born authors based outside their countries of origin. The premise is that home is a physical space as well as a symbolic terrain invested with social, political and cultural meanings. As discussions of politics and history augment close readings of literary works, the book should appeal not only to scholars of literature, but also to scholars of Southeast Asian politics and history.

Eddie TAY is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also the author of three collections of poetry.

Publication Year: 2011
174 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-543-9, Paperback

NUS Press and Hong Kong University Press