Author: Jonah Raskin
preface by Bruce Robbins
Publisher: Monthly Review Press
ISBN:  978-1-58367-186-3
Publication Date: 2009
Trade paperback
384 pages

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The Mythology of Imperialism: A Revolutionary Critique of British Literature and Society in the Modern Age
by Jonah Raskin

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About this book:

“The Mythology of Imperialism I have read, used, and considered to be one of the genuinely important handful of books on modern literature.”

“We, the readers and students of literature, have been hijacked. The literary critics, our teachers, those assassins of culture, have put us up against the wall and held us captive.” So begins Jonah Raskin’s The Mythology of Imperialism. When first published in 1971, this book was nothing short of a call to arms, an open revolt against the literary establishment. In his critique of five well–known British writers—Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, and Joyce Cary—Raskin not only developed the model for a revolutionary anti–imperialist criticism, but, through this book’s influence on Edward Said, helped usher in the field of postcolonial studies.

Nearly four decades later, The Mythology of Imperialism is all the more relevant. Its readings of British literature still offer bold and original insight into the relationship between text, artist, and historical context. But, perhaps more crucially, this book sends a revolutionary message to all readers and students of literature. Against much of today’s postcolonialism—diluted by postmodern obfuscation and largely detached from its historical roots—Raskin locates the center of his anti–imperialist criticism in the anti–imperialist struggle itself and takes his cues not from “the assassins of culture” in the academy but from the national liberation movements of his time.

Written with absorbing passion and machete–sharp analysis, this new edition of The Mythology of Imperialism includes the original text, a new introduction and afterword by the author, and a preface by Bruce Robbins.

Jonah Raskin teaches First Amendment law and journalism at Sonoma State University in Northern California. He is the author of The Radical Jack London and Out of the Whale, as well as biographies of Abbie Hoffman and Allen Ginsberg.

Bruce Robbins is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and author of The Servant’s Hand.

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