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Updated Up To 23/01/2018
Volume 2, Number 2 (June 2004) : 139-59
Writing the Post-Colonial Space
Ben Okri’s Magical City and the Subversion of Imperialism
Sara Upstone
Rubric A: Literature and the Ideas of Space


In recent years, focus on issue of the spatial has increased exponentially. Briefly charting this rise in its various theoretical forms, we may locate a common theme within many of the positions taken up in response to the spatial: a concern with turmoil and oppression, and with a shifting of both physical and political boundaries. Nowhere is this concern more explicit than in the post-colonial response to what may be seen as the most violent violation of space: the colonial appropriation of land and territory as part of the various imperial projects of previous centuries. In post-colonial writing the colonial space is acknowledged, rejected for its inauthenticity and then re-made. A detailed reading of a particular text – Ben Okri’s Infinite Riches – and of a particular space within this text – the city – allows us to exemplify some of the narrative strategies by which such a powerful reclaiming of space may be asserted by the post-colonial author.

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