Robert J.C. Young
In 1990, Robert Young's White Mythologies set out to question the very concepts of history and the West. Is it possible, he asked, to write history that avoids the trap of Eurocentrism? Is history simply a Western myth? His reflections on these topics provided some of the most important new directions in postcolonial studies and continue to exert a huge influence on the field. This new edition reprints what has quickly become a classic text, along with a substantial new essay reflecting on changes in the field and in the author's own position since publication. An essential read for all those working in postcolonial theory, literature and history, this book cemented Young's reputation as one of the country's most influential scholars and, as a new preface by Homi Bhabha comments, made an original and invaluable intervention in the field, leading even the most established figures to rethink their own positions. Provoking further re-evaluation with the new introductory essay, this second edition will like its predecessor be a key text for every academic and student in the field.
We must, many now argue, 'get back' to history. but which one? History has always been a problematical concept in Western theory, particularly for Marxism. In the wake of postmodernism, its status has become ever less certain. Is it possible to write history that avoids the trap of Eurocentrism? Robert Young's investigation of 'the history of History', from Hegel and Marx to Althusser and Foucault, calls into question the Eurocentrism of traditional Marxist accounts of a single 'World History', in which, as he shows, the 'Third World' appears as an unassimilable excess, surplus to the narrative of the West. Young goes on to consider recent questionings of the limits of Western knowledge. He argues that the efforts of Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabha to formulate non-historicist ways of thinking and writing history are part of a larger project of a decolonisation of History and a deconstruction of 'the West'.