Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/108777
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Type: Journal article
Title: Narrative cartographies, ‘beautiful things’ and littoral states in Abdulrazak Gurnah's By the Sea
Author: Samuelson, M.
Citation: English Studies in Africa, 2013; 56(1):78-90
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 0013-8398
1943-8117
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Meg Samuelson
Abstract: Much scholarship on By the Sea has focused on its representation of south-north migration and asylum. This article attends instead to the narrative cartography by which it maps Zanzibar and the Swahili coast into the Indian Ocean world while, in turn, opening up into a world ocean of stories. Central to this reading are its allusions to A Thousand and One Nights, through which it crafts a poetics of passage while reflecting on the enthralling nature of things. Redolent of what a focus on things might reveal about the Indian Ocean, and vice versa, By the Sea opens up their potent potentialities and explores ways of relating to them that scramble the vectors of possession, and solidify or sully the bonds between or encasing subjects. In the process, the novel is able to render a suggestively ambivalent portrayal of the Indian Ocean world at it attends the Swahili Coast, refracting its history through the prism of narrative in order to cast a spectrum of representation capacious enough to translate the insights gleaned from its cosmopolitan and dehumanizing pasts into an emergent world order.
Keywords: A Thousand and One Nights; Sindbad; Shahrazade; Zanzibar; Swahili coast; Indian Ocean; stories; maps; things
Rights: © University of the Witwatersrand
RMID: 0030066955
DOI: 10.1080/00138398.2013.780683
Appears in Collections:English publications

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