POSTCOLONIAL WELSH IDENTITY IN RAYMOND WILLIAMS’S PEOPLE OF THE BLACK MOUNTAINS


Posted On Jul 27 2012 by

A major figure of cultural studies, Williams might be called a precursor of postcolonialism in that he opposed canonical forms of history, rejected the concept of ‘mass’, avoided an elitist attitude in evaluating cultural matters, tried to eliminate the distinction between ‘low’ and ‘high’ culture, focused on the lives of the ‘others’ and the ‘ordinary’ and questioned what is canonically imposed by the English tradition in academy at a time when postcolonialism as a discipline was just emerging. Having studied the history of Walesin detail and that of the border country where he was born and grew up, Williams saw the colonialistic past of the related regions and realised its damaging effects upon the Welsh. Therefore, he decided to re-write the history of his homeland in an alternative manner and People of the Black Mountains emerged as a non-canonical, though fictional, history ofWales. While tracing the tragic history ofWales and its borders, Williams in fact explores the shaping of identity inWales, which is postcolonial in nature. The novel, with its non-canonical historical account and its focus on the process of colonization inWales, distinctive cultural features of the Welsh, the lives of others, the moulding geography ofWales, and its dialogism which aims at bringing all generations ofWales together, produces an image ofWales and Welshness which constitutes a good example of fiction that might be categorized within the postcolonial writing. Through his oral history, or narration, Williams is re-building a nation and recreating its identity.

Last Updated on: July 27th, 2012 at 8:43 P, by admin


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