Colonial and Postcolonial Cyprus: Transportal Literatures of Empire, Nationalism, and Sectarianism
This book analyses colonial and postcolonial writing about Cyprus, before and after its independence from the British Empire in 1960. These works are understood as ‘transportal literatures’ in that they navigate the liminal and layered forms of colonialism which impede the freedom of the island, including the residues of British imperialism, the impact of Greek and Turkish nationalisms, and the ethnolinguistic border between north and south. This study puts pressure on the postcolonial discipline by evaluating the unique hegemonic relationship Cyprus has with three metropolitan centres, not one. The print languages associated with each centre (English, Greek, and Turkish) are complicit in neo-colonial activity. Contemporary Cypriot writers address this in order to resist sectarian division and grapple with their deferred postcoloniality.
Cyprus is a particularly charged political and imaginative environment: once a British colony, now partitioned and caught between Greek and Turkish influence. In this context, writing in English has had a complex and evolving role: at first the medium of colonial oppression, English is now one of the languages of the island, to some extent a neutral tongue, and a language of opportunity, though still bearing traces of its imperialist past. The texts written in or translated into English which Daniele Nunziata explores, from Victorian travellers like Esmé Scott-Stevenson, through to mid-twentieth century figures like Lawrence Durrell and Costas Montis, to contemporary Cypriot writers like Yiannis Papadakis and Nora Nadjarian, reveal surprising continuities as well as striking divergences and fractures. As he explores them, Nunziata develops an argument which (like the case of Cyprus itself) has much to offer the overlapping fields of postcolonial studies, translation studies, and comparative and world literature.