Throughout this study I have referred to critical essays and studies of Rushdie’s fiction in journals and books to support the case for reading Rushdie’s literary and non-literary texts as fictions of postcolonial modernity. This section of the book aims to supplement the account of Rushdie’s criticism presented in Chapters 1–7 by providing a short and selected history of Rushdie’s critical reception. In this chapter, I concentrate mainly on reviews of Rushdie’s writing, partly to avoid repetition, and partly to assess the ways in which Rushdie’s writing has been read and evaluated in the global literary marketplace, as well as in the pages of academic journals and monographs. While some critics have suggested that Rushdie’s fiction post-The Satanic Verses lacks the formal and philosophical complexity of the earlier novels (Clark 2001), others have noted a shift in the narrative structure and style of Rushdie’s fiction that corresponds with Rushdie’s traumatic biography (Gonzalez 2005). However, such a critical framing of Rushdie’s fictional work before and after the so-called Rushdie affair can overlook the development of what Timothy Brennan has called a uniquely situated cosmopolitan perspective in Rushdie’s fictional work from the start of his literary career (Brennan 2006). This cosmopolitan or worldly outlook may, as Brennan suggests, also assume a privileged transnational class position in relation to the working-class subjects that are represented in the novels. But as this book has suggested, Rushdie’s literary fiction from Midnight’s Children to Shalimar the Clown presents a complex and often contradictory vision of the modern postcolonial world, which allows for readings that brush against the grain of this elite, cosmopolitan perspective.
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