The cosmopolitan value of the multicultural novel

Shaw, Kristian (2020) The cosmopolitan value of the multicultural novel. In: The Novel as Network: Forms, Ideas, Commodities. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-030-53408-0, 978-3-030-53409-7

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The cosmopolitan value of the multicultural novel
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Abstract

This article investigates the difficult position of the ‘multicultural’ novel in the twenty-first century. Bound in a complex network of universal claims and cross-cultural influences the multicultural novel appeals to a specifically Anglophone market and are attractive to publishers. Marketing strategies, however, often ensur these texts are in danger of furthering a potential cultural blandness as a consequence of needing to be broadly readable across boundaries. It will be argued that the novel’s form, but also the apparent proliferation of multicultural fiction, is impossible to divorce from fundamentally profit-driven decisions made by publishers—largely by repeating what they have deduced are proven formulas, not always successfully. As Philip Tew acknowledges, to ‘read texts by identifying ideological markers of ethnicity is in effect to prejudge such texts through the perspective of a particular set of sociocultural elements which may well obscure many other cultural and aesthetic issues’.1 Drawing upon a wide range of Anglophone examples, from Gautam Malkini and Monica Ali to Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith, it will be suggested that the marketing of multicultural fiction continues to involve a sense of marginalization that limits the perception and reading of certain novels.

Keywords:Cosmopolitan, Multiculturalism, Global market, Contemporary Literature, British Literature
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P400 Publishing
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:31463
Deposited On:05 May 2022 15:22

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