‘Paul Scott’s Hippie’ and Hanging On

Ashton-Griffiths, Roger (2015) ‘Paul Scott’s Hippie’ and Hanging On. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis consists of a critical essay examining the evolution of genre
and aesthetic in English fiction about South Asia, and a novel about a family of
Sri Lankans settled in England.
In the essay I question how a contemporary English novelist can place
himself amongst the cohort of those earlier writers who have written about South
Asia, since the relationship between the former colonists and colonised has
changed so greatly. I demonstrate that generic elements were established in the
earliest examples of this fiction, which remained notably constant throughout,
even up to the late work of Paul Scott. However, I show that the aesthetic
attending this Anglo-Indian genre begins with an affirmation of the benefit to the
subcontinent which the colonial project might bring and ends with a repudiation
of that idea. I seek to break new ground by arguing that the repudiation is so
unequivocal in the work of Scott and others that this fiction comes to express an
aesthetic of apology.
I argue that Scott recognises that it has become possible no longer to write
within the Anglo-Indian genre, and that his final novel, Staying On, has evolved
into the Commonwealth genre.
My novel, Hanging On, is an echo of Scott's last novel. It examines the
life of a man who wishes to remain more-or-less British, rather than become
independently Sri Lankan, and the legacy of his position as it filters down through
the generations of his family in Luton. Cultural difference is now the prime source
of conflict, rather than political power, and it aims to demonstrate that cultural
hybridity is the paradoxical consequence of the racial rigidity which accompanied
the colonial project to its termination.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 14:18
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2016 14:18
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59221
DOI:

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