This essay reads Edward Said’s practice of contrapuntal reading alongside the historical material from which he partially derives this practice in order to query the limits of a founding feature of postcolonial literary theory: an optimistic faith in the irreducibility and persistence of imperial connection. Taking political-economic and literary discussions of the nineteenth-century West Indies as its primary case, it explores how instituted processes of abandonment and expulsion require colonial and postcolonial thought to engage with a poetics and hermeneutics of disconnection. Ultimately, this essay argues that postcolonial theory was not Victorian enough and that reengaging with the ongoingness of this other Victorianism necessitates a retooling of the postcolonial for the pressures of the Anthropocene.
"Let Them Sink into the Sea: Free-Trade Empire and a Hermeneutics of Disconnection,"
Criticism: Vol. 61:
4, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol61/iss4/7