Malaysian landscapes in the fiction of K S Maniam

Wicks, Peter (2000) Malaysian landscapes in the fiction of K S Maniam. Journal of Commonwealth and PostColonial Literature, 7 (2). pp. 73-87.


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[Introduction]: In his prolific output of fiction, including two published novels and numerous stories, K S Maniam has explored and revealed a range of Malaysian landscapes for the people who live there. Whilst acknowledging that “landscape” is an elusive concept that is difficult readily to define, this analysis accepts Victor Savage’s broad approach to landscape as a “living process “ which involves “the total sensually perceptible features of a person’s experience at a particular place and time.” (1) For Maniam, the landscapes are variously natural and cultural, exterior and interior, childlike and adult, a rich panorama. Accordingly, the paper examines such dimensions of landscape as physical settings, memory, dream, and imagination, mind and personality, margins and shadows, as well as institutions from plantation to coffee shop. Through all these settings, Maniam has furnished a vital and authentic Malaysian mosaic. This paper considers the significance of this mosaic through a thematic study of Maniam’s fictional output to date, i.e. from 1976 to the present. The American author, Joyce Carol Oates, has observed that “all artists know either consciously or instinctively that the secret intention of their life’s work is to rescue from the plunge of time something of beauty, permanence, significance,”(2) and so it is with Maniam as literary artist, and with Malaysia as place and experience. This analysis also draws on the key basic assumptions set out by Altick and Fenstermaker in The Art of Literary Research (1993), firstly that to understand the meaning of a text, it is necessary to know as much as possible about its creator, the author, and secondly that authors and texts are products of particular social and historical contexts.(3)

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No response from publisher to copyright request.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 01:03
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:43
Uncontrolled Keywords: Maniam, Malaysian literature, Malaysia
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200519 South-East Asian Literature (excl. Indonesian)

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