Overview (Critical Survey of Poetry: Topical Essays)
Postcolonial criticism analyzes and critiques the literature, poetry, drama, and prose fiction of writers who are subjects of countries that were governed by or that were colonies of other nations, primarily England and France, and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Postcolonial criticism deals mainly with the literatures of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean by analyzing the interactions between the culture, customs, and history of indigenous peoples and of the colonial power that governs. Postcolonial criticism is part of a larger field called cultural studies, or race and ethnicity studies.
To understand the importance of postcolonial literature, a reader should understand the scope of European involvement in the lives of people around the world. Between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, European countries conquered, governed, and otherwise had interests in the majority of nations around the world. Colonialism had begun principally through mercantilism and the protection of mercantile companies, such as the British East India Company, by the British navy and the navies of other trading countries. By the mid-twentieth century, however, domination by Europe began to end, as colonized countries staged successful independence movements. By 1980, Britain had lost all but a few of its colonial holdings; Hong Kong remained British until 1997 and Australia remained British until 1999.
Postcolonial literary criticism is a recent development....
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