Analysis Model of “Postcolonial” Writing in English in the Contemporary Literary Market (with Special Focus on Text Mining)

Sarah Agath

 

This project’s aim is to analyze the role and positioning of ‘postcolonial’ writing in English on the contemporary (English-speaking) literary market. The project’s first part is aimed at pinning down realities of the contradictory state of postcolonialism as a literary discipline, and the question of the appropriateness of the term, while highlighting other possibilities of terming within the contemporary context (e.g. transnational writing, literatures in English, etc.). Furthermore, recent trends and developments of both Indian Writing in English, African Literatures in English and (‘ethnic’, ‘postcolonial’) women’s writing in English will be investigated. Theoretical discussions and critiques on postcolonial literatures and studies – ranging from the genre’s claimed development into a cultural commodity, over the discipline’s academic western-centeredness, to certain ideological expectations concerning its content (e.g. ‘writing back’) – will lay the base for analysis. For this examination, further theories stemming from media studies, cultural studies and gender studies – reflecting on various discourses tied to the contemporary literary system – will be taken into consideration.  

The second part of the project – which will consist of both qualitative and quantitative analysis – aims to gain new insights into the analysis of creation, production and reception of ‘postcolonial’ writing in the 21st-century context by examining six contemporary authors in more detail. The first chapters will be used as a base of examination for this applied section, which means that all picked authors (and all discussed aspects around their creation, production and reception on the contemporary literary marketplace) will be investigated in regards to the sum of previously discussed critiques and issues related to postcolonial theory and literature. Furthermore, text mining – which has been found to be a highly effective tool of big data language-analysis – will constitute a dominant part of this project's quantitative part, which will focus on audience reception. Using R, the paratext of novels (user comments on Goodreads and Amazon, critics’ reviews in online newspapers, cover endorsements and synopsis) will be examined regarding the manner of (re)presentation by both critics and audience. 

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