Catalan literature(s) in postcolonial context

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The invitation to Catalan culture to be the guest of honour at the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair has revived a polemic about what Catalan literature is and who can be considered a Catalan author. In their responses to the announcement, many Catalan cultural commentators drew on the language and discourse of postcolonialism to explain the historical and political reasons for the existence of Catalans who write in Castilian and to justify the exclusion of such writers as suitable representatives of Catalan culture. This article examines the use of postcolonial theories by Catalan intellectuals, writers and literary critics. It argues that Catalan postcolonial studies largely reinforce nationalist discourse which maintains that Catalan literature is literature written exclusively in Catalan. The article questions the very restricted understanding of postcolonial subjectivity by Catalan critics, arguing that they either ignore entirely or gloss over theories of bi-directional cultural contact, cultural change and hybridity which are a central feature of postcolonial studies. In light of these unexamined theories, the article proposes a framework for understanding Castilian-language writers from Catalonia and situating them within a broader Catalan postcolonial context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalRomance Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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