"Something more than fantasy": fathering postcolonial identities through Shakespeare
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This thesis examines the referential and structural presence of “Shakespeare” in the autobiographies of Joseph Conrad (A Personal Record), Michael Ondaatje (Running in the Family) and Edward Said (Out of Place). These authors evoke “Shakespeare”—the product of centuries of political, national, and personal appropriation—as a means of understanding their own complex heritages, even as they displace his canonical authority. Exploring the relationships among Shakespeare’s plays, modern or contemporary autobiography, and postcolonial theories of cultural hybridity, I argue that writers and countries try constantly to secure Shakespearean paternity even for transgressive, postcolonial ends.