Throwing off the shackles of colonialism? Continuities and discontinuities from Daniel Defoe's literary work to Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away

Rings, Guido (2011) Throwing off the shackles of colonialism? Continuities and discontinuities from Daniel Defoe's literary work to Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away. Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies, 22 (2). pp. 119-136. ISSN 0947-0034

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Abstract

Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe has been widely discussed as a key example of 18th century British and – in the wider sense – European colonial writing that confirms the supremacy of Western culture while stressing transcultural desires and fears. Of particular interest is the relationship between Crusoe and Friday, which has been highlighted as a ‘paradigmatic colonial encounter’ (Said 1991). However, in some of the more contemporary ‘Robinson stories’ that follow in the footsteps of Defoe’s novel, the traditional cultural encounter between the civilized Self and the primitive Other has been omitted, and Robert Zemeckis’s Hollywood movie Cast Away is a good example of this tendency. Focusing on Cast Away, this study explores 1) how far the omission of this encounter leads to a break with colonial dichotomies, and 2) which aspects of colonial discourse continue to be widely disseminated via Hollywood productions. By linking psychological research with postcolonial and transcultural theory, it amends current film analysis and interpretations of contemporary “robinsonades” (e.g. Ingram 2001, Weaver-Hightower 2007 and 2006) while critically interrogating popular perspectives on transculturality and globalization (such as Welsch 1999). In particular, the essay reveals that, despite the loss of the encounter, a revision of traditional individualism and a certain dose of filmic parody, the neo-colonial capitalist identity promoted in the movie remains very much in line with Defoe’s colonial paradigm.

Item Type: Journal Article
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2011 14:28
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2019 16:14
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/192769

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