Nation shall speak ...

  • "Nations, like narrative, lose their origins in the myths of time and only fully realize their horizons in the mind's eye", Homi K. Bhabha
  • "Nationalism has been a powerful source of inspiration in the arts; it formed one of the dynamic elements of Romanticism in 18th century Europe", Bullock et al, "The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought".
  • Heritage, language and economics help characterise a nation. The web weakens all these bonds (passwords becoming as important as passports), though technological developments like satellite TV and cheap transnational transportation have eroded nationhood at least as much. When historical nationhood weakens it can be replaced by tribalism, city-states or transnational identification with others of one's generation.
  • "The nation, according to the new ideology of nationism ... is not defined mainly by what its citizens want it to be but by reference to the Other", Denis MacShane, Critical Quarterly V40.4, p.119.
  • Where a nation or culture has not acquired its own state, or the boundaries of distinct cultures fail to coincide with state boundaries, the WWW can help to define allegiances, disassociating culture from location.
  • In times of war, independence or cultural renewal, nationhood can have a more significant effect on writers, providing if nothing else energy and an environment conducive to change. Those from postcolonial nations are more likely to be emerging from a struggle that has established conflicting identities - the individual/familial versus the state-imposed, tradition versus technology. Neil Corcoron in "English Poetry since 1940" points out that in the immediate post-war period, English poetry became affected by issues surrounding national identity.
  • "what happens in poetry of the 1980s is ... that a view of England as a nation seems impossible", David Kennedy, "New Relations".
  • "We are still the inheritors of [the] style by which one is defined by the nation, which in turn derives its authority from a supposedly unbroken tradition. ... the battle within [American identity] is between advocates of a unitary identity and those who see the whole as a complex but not reductively unified one. This opposition implies two different perspectives, two histiographies, one linear and subsuming, the other contrapuntal and nomadic." (Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, xxviii,xxix)
  • "Nationalism with the exception of anti-colonial movements, is based around a conservative and sometimes romantic political philosophy that emphasizes the nation's past", Cambridge Encyclopedia (2nd edition), David Crystal.
  • Paper-based literature already mirrors these re-negotiations of local allegiance. Rather than looking back into a state's past art, the WWW is expanding to become the state of the art method of cementing alliances.