What is [the] sense of the tragic? It is, in my opinion, a sense of the in
man in society to overcome the evil which seems inseparable from socia
litical organisation. To have a sense of the tragic, is to be aware of th
judge humanity by the degree to which man is able to struggle against t
riding doom; to establish moral and psychological domination over th
of impotence and futility which it would otherwise impose.
I have been trying over the course of this book, above all else, to
in a certain revisionary practice of historical criticism in the pre
to do so against the background of what seems to me the deaden
hopes that defined the futures of the anticolonial and (early) p
nial projects. My general aim has been to make out a case for a
of criticism that is alert to the idea that propositions are always
to questions or interventions in a discursive context, because it s
me that keeping this idea in view is one way of helping us to de
whether the questions we have been asking the past to answer c
to be questions worth having answers to, and whether the st
have been telling ourselves about the past’s relation to the pres
tinue to be stories worth telling. In pursuing this concern, my
aim has been to argue forchanging the questions we ask about t
nial past as a way of beginning the work of imagining new ans
the present and new horizons for the future. I do not assume th
to be straightforward or easy.
I have been saying that, on the whole, anticolonialism has be
ten in the narrative mode of Romance and, consequently, has p
a distinctive image of the past (one cast in terms of what coloni
past and the hoped-for future (one emplotted as a narrative of
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