Desktop version

Home arrow Political science arrow Cosmopolitanism in Twenty-First Century Fiction



  • 1. Smith has since stated that she was ‘straight out wrong’ in assuming that cultural differences ‘could be overcome’ so easily (2005b: n.pag.).
  • 2. Several critics, however, have rejected this reading of White Teeth. See Bentley 2007.
  • 3. Smith did accept that literary categorisation often fluctuates, stating: ‘I don’t mind where I’m gathered, it’s fine by me’ (2013b: n.pag.). Ironically, Smith is reliably vocal with regards to her literary classification, resisting any pigeon-holing of her work.
  • 4. Nigel Rapport perceives this ‘ethical labour’ of narrative hospitality to involve ‘an imaginative re-placing of self in other experiences and lives’, and a recognition of difference or ‘multiplicity’ around the self (2012a: 209, 210).
  • 5. ‘Rooted cosmopolitanism’ was coined by Mitchell Cohen, who notes that the term interrogates a ‘plurality of loyalties’ which are ‘not easily harmonized’ (1992: 483).
  • 6. Smith claims there was an ‘epidemic of stabbings’ in London at the time of writing, ‘usually, of young black boys by young black boys’, and such violence seeped into the novel (2013b: n.pag.).
  • 7. Glocal cosmopolitanism follows Bhabha’s vernacular cosmopolitanism in recognising how global concerns and processes are defined by local concerns, promoting the implementation of ethical values within local communities in order to impact the global (2011: 38-52). However, while the glocal cosmopolitanism proposed here simply explores the synergy of global and local process, vernacular cosmopolitanism emphasises nonelite engagement and mobilities. As Werbner identifies, vernacular cosmopolitanism is also closely related to a range of similar concepts which combine ‘apparently contradictory opposites: cosmopolitan patriotism, rooted cosmopolitanism, cosmopolitan ethnicity, working-class cosmopolitanism, discrepant cosmopolitanism’ (2008b: 14).
  • 8. The influence of network sociality will be explored further in Chapter 5.
  • 9. The cover of the Hamish Hamilton edition of NW displays the iconic colours of the London Underground and local bus stops - the networks linking London’s separate boroughs.
  • 10. The repeated appearance of the local Number 37 bus indicates that interdependence powers the narrative, linking characters across the cultural spaces of London. The Number 37 is employed throughout NW to suggest fork-in-the-road moments in characters’ lives (such as Natalie’s break from Leah’s group of friends encouraging her impetus to live a more individualistic life). Further, the number acts as a reminder of the interconnection of people and places which individualism seems to neglect. The sub-chapter thirty-seven is therefore purposely absent from Natalie’s chapter (‘Host’) who, ‘due to a long process of neglect’, is unable to create ‘the generative power to muster an alternative future’ for herself (266). The self-referenti- ality of the number is supported by the fact that Smith turned thirty-seven at the time of NWs publication.
  • 11. NW blurs several genres, structurally and thematically, containing postmodern narrative strategies and arguably the continuation of a modernist ideology promoted by E. M. Forster (positioning liberal humanism and connection as the defining thematic of the text).
  • 12. Smith rejected Wood’s initial categorisation of her fiction, explaining that ‘any collective term for a supposed literary movement is always too large a net, catching significant dolphins among so much cannable tuna’ (2001: n.pag.).
  • 13. According to James, Smith’s novels all concern ‘her own parable of ethical consequence’ (2007: 694).
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >