• Peripheral Realism and the Bildungsroman in Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions

    Author(s):
    Gabriele Lazzari (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Subject(s):
    Postcolonial English literature, World literature, Novel (genre), Novel criticism, Realism
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Dangarembga, postcolonial, bildungsroman, mimesis
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/qt59-fx60
    Abstract:
    This essay analyzes Tsitsi dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions and argues that this novel appropriates and resignifies the bildungsroman, thus demonstrating that this genre cannot provide a symbolic resolution for the “nervous condition” of the colonized subject. To do so, I integrate a world- systemic approach with a formalist analysis of genre. Starting from the premise that the modern world-system has been constituted by capitalist modernization and colonial expansion, I read Dangarembga’s novel as a localized literary response to these two world-historical forces and analyze the entanglements between formal choices and socioeconomic transformations, as well as their impact on the characters’ psyche. By appropriating the realist bildungsroman from a peripheral perspective, Nervous Conditions frames the tense relations between a self-reflecting individuality and her social totality. In so doing, Dangarembga rejects the ideological premises of a genre tied to European bourgeois subjectivity and simultaneously reactivates realism and mimesis as dynamic and flexible modes of representation.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    6 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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