A ‘Return’ of the Subject in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth

Mara Maticevic


In postmodernist fiction, subjects are typically portrayed as fragmented. While subjective agency in postmodernism is possible, it occurs only at the price of self-fragmentation or even self-dissolution, as famously exemplified in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981). Now, as I suggest here, after decades of postmodernist irony and insecurity, contemporary literature is again focusing on portrayals of stable forms of subjectivity within a social community. To describe this new kind of subject, I draw on Jean-Luc Marion’s concept of the subject as ‘receiver’ and show how Zadie Smith’s White Teeth engages with these ideas.


Zadie Smith; Post-Postmodernism; Subject; Jean-Luc Marion;

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5283/copas.244


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