Aesthetic representations of history : the question of the national allegory

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jay Ernest Whitaker (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Cara Cilano

Abstract: This project investigates the labeling of third-world literature as national allegory. It begins with a discussion of the concepts and ideas behind the loaded terms that fuel this debate. A justification of my own use of the terms “third-world,” “allegory,” and “nationhood” are necessary. My own definitions of the above vocabulary are largely based on the insights of Frederic Jameson and Raymond Williams. Chapter Two examines a so-called third-world piece of literature, Noor, through an allegorical lens with the aim of concluding whether or not it is a reasonable piece to represent the story of Pakistan and Bangladesh’s nationhood. By the end of the chapter, I find that though the piece is allegorical in nature, it cannot be as tightly defined as a national allegory. Chapter Three is a third-world reading of a supposed first-world text, Dracula. What I attempted to do was establish that other works beside third-world literature can be read as national allegories. In this investigation, I find that though this piece is also allegorical in nature, like Noor it cannot be labeled as a national allegory. The paper concludes with an explanation of my methods. I continue with a further deconstruction of some of Jameson’s ideas, mainly his thoughts on the purpose of culture in a modern world and the role of nationhood during globalization. My final thought is that a national allegory is an aesthetic representation of a culture’s reaction to its historical moment.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Allegory, Jameson Frederick--Criticism and interpretation, Williams Raymond--Criticism and interpretation
Jameson, Frederick -- Criticism and interpretation
Williams, Raymond -- Criticism and interpretation

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