Field, material, technique: On renewing postcolonial literary criticism

B. Etherington, J. Zimbler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Concerned by the eclipse of concerted discussion of literary technique in the postcolonial field, this article outlines a critical practice which would restore questions of technique to the centre ground. Proceeding from the assumption that technique is the agent of art’s thinking, it proposes that the literary craft practised in any given work or authorship needs to be thought through in its context of intelligibility: a conception which synthesizes insights of Pierre Bourdieu and Theodor Adorno; particularly their respective notions of field and material. Then, in two short studies, on the critical reception of Louise Bennett in the Caribbean and J. M. Coetzee in South Africa, these concepts are put into motion to illuminate the truth-content of field-defining developments of the literary material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-297
Number of pages19
JournalThe Journal of Commonwealth Literature
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014


  • Postcolonial literary criticism
  • Literary technique
  • Field
  • Material
  • Prosody
  • Prose style
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • Theodor Adorno
  • Louise Bennett
  • Mervyn Morris
  • J. M. Coetzee
  • André Brink


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