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    Global civil war and post-9/11 discourse in The Wasted Vigil

    Frawley, Oona (2013) Global civil war and post-9/11 discourse in The Wasted Vigil. Textual Practice, 27 (3). pp. 439-457. ISSN 0950-236X

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    Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil offers the opportunity to consider the ways in which notions of civil war in the twenty-first century are complicated both by legacies of colonialisms and by contemporary discourse on extremism. Though the Afghanistan represented in the text is shown to be in a state of civil war stemming from tribal conflict, it is, simultaneously, an occupied space with an inheritance of multiple occupations. This palimpsestic arena serves as a meeting ground for key characters, each of which hails from and so represents a distinct part of Afghanistan’s legacy. The novel also offers a meditation on the nature of extremism and its representations in the post-9/11 era. If, as Baudrillard suggests, terrorism like that enacted on 11 September 2001 succeeds because of its symbolic value, Aslam’s novel pursues the notion of the symbolic through language as a way of moving beyond the standoff created by current-day (and largely American) rhetoric about extremism. The ‘global civil war’ enacted in the pages of The Wasted Vigil thus offers a critique not only of definitions of civil war, but also, and perhaps more significantly, a far more damning critique of the American-centric perspective on globality and media’s normalization of the unimaginable image.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Nadeem Aslam; global civil war; post-colonialism; terrorism; terrorist discourse; extremism; post-9/11 fiction;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 11445
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Oona Frawley
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 15:28
    Journal or Publication Title: Textual Practice
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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