Promising "Post-Colonialism": Deleuze-Guattari's "Minor Literature" and the Poetry of Arthur Yap

Irving Goh (The National University of Singapore)

[complete essay]

In the attempt to articulate a new history (of independence), "post-colonial" States, in the haste of anxiety to be culturally acknowledged by an international community, sometimes tend to direct, if not dictate, the way lived experiences of "post-colonialism" is expressed. I am thinking particularly of the present Singaporean context. Such a "political correctness" of narrativity only represses other expressions, especially the literature resonant of the language of common everyday life. The latter is perhaps akin to Deleuze and Guattari's concept of "minor literature," constituted by a "minor language," and resisting the closure by any history- (re)inventing "logos." Collectivistic in nature, this "minor literature" is not a-political. Except that since it affirms the heterogeneity of a singular yet plural phenomenon of "post-colonialism," it only justly resonates the "political correctnesses" of "post-colonial" experiences. In this paper, I will argue that a "minor literature" is indeed what is needed as the expression of "post-colonialism." I will work Deleuze and Guattari's concept through with the poetry of Singaporean writer Arthur Yap. I will suggest that a "minor literature," of geography instead of history, as Yap's poetry attests, is the promise that maintains the opening of the multiplicity of voices and experiences offered by "post-colonialism."

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001