In this essay I argue that the irreducible excess of the textuality of Othello circulates, with all its traumatic import, in Tayeb Salih’s novel Season of Migration to the North, inflecting in specific ways the post-colonial identities the text presents, and bringing into a dangerous rapprochement geographical locations and spaces that are seemingly opposed to one another. The novel’s exposure to the alterity of Othello most often takes the form of compulsion to repeat—Salih’s characters often act out, sometimes to its tragic ending, and sometimes in spite of themselves, the scenario Shakespeare’s text delineates. From a theoretical point of view, and to engage with the debate on appropriation and re-visioning of canonical texts, the essay argues that Salih’s is not simply an appropriation of Othello, if by appropriation one means “usurpation” or seizure for one’s uses; nor can it be defined as a “writing back,” if “writing back” means an economic and calculated practice of redressing wrongs perpetrated by the colonizer. Salih’s text does not set the story straight. It does not adequately render justice to either Othello or his post-colonial heirs. Instead, it forces us to rethink some of the terms in which the issue of appropriation is often couched in Shakespearean and postcolonial studies. The novel shows how the ghost of Othello haunts without properly residing. It measures the extent to which the appropriated Shakespearean text appropriates its appropriators / appropriations. This does not mean that in this Sudanese novel there is nothing other than a politically debilitating compulsion to repeat. In Specters of Marx Jacques Derrida asks: “Is not disjuncture the very possibility of the other?” The essay concludes that Season continually treads the very thin line between two senses of “disjuncture”: the disjuncture of the unjust and the one which paves the way for the infinite asymmetry of the relation to the other, that is to say, justice. In the text’s folds and fractures, as well as in its indeterminate ending, there insists the singularity of an " ex-position " to others, in all its ethical and political urgency.

Othello’s Ghostly Remainders: Trauma and (Post)Colonial “Dis-ease” in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North

CALBI, Maurizio
2008

Abstract

In this essay I argue that the irreducible excess of the textuality of Othello circulates, with all its traumatic import, in Tayeb Salih’s novel Season of Migration to the North, inflecting in specific ways the post-colonial identities the text presents, and bringing into a dangerous rapprochement geographical locations and spaces that are seemingly opposed to one another. The novel’s exposure to the alterity of Othello most often takes the form of compulsion to repeat—Salih’s characters often act out, sometimes to its tragic ending, and sometimes in spite of themselves, the scenario Shakespeare’s text delineates. From a theoretical point of view, and to engage with the debate on appropriation and re-visioning of canonical texts, the essay argues that Salih’s is not simply an appropriation of Othello, if by appropriation one means “usurpation” or seizure for one’s uses; nor can it be defined as a “writing back,” if “writing back” means an economic and calculated practice of redressing wrongs perpetrated by the colonizer. Salih’s text does not set the story straight. It does not adequately render justice to either Othello or his post-colonial heirs. Instead, it forces us to rethink some of the terms in which the issue of appropriation is often couched in Shakespearean and postcolonial studies. The novel shows how the ghost of Othello haunts without properly residing. It measures the extent to which the appropriated Shakespearean text appropriates its appropriators / appropriations. This does not mean that in this Sudanese novel there is nothing other than a politically debilitating compulsion to repeat. In Specters of Marx Jacques Derrida asks: “Is not disjuncture the very possibility of the other?” The essay concludes that Season continually treads the very thin line between two senses of “disjuncture”: the disjuncture of the unjust and the one which paves the way for the infinite asymmetry of the relation to the other, that is to say, justice. In the text’s folds and fractures, as well as in its indeterminate ending, there insists the singularity of an " ex-position " to others, in all its ethical and political urgency.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/3301684
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