'The Event', 'the Archive', and 'Realms That Are Yet to Come' in Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet


  • Areej M.J. Al-Khafaji Department of English, College of Arts, Al-Qadisiya University, Iraq




archive, East, event, postmodernism, the Raj, West


Two enigmas remain unsolved in the four novels of Paul Scott's the Raj Quartet: the engineer/performer of Daphne's rape which opens the whole tale and the engineer/performer of Merrick's murder which closes it. Both are ritualistic events engineered/performed patiently and carefully almost with the same scenario which gives confidence that the second is a vengeful sequence of the first. If we interrogate the Quartet in the light of postmodern discourses, some bizarre results can be found concerning these two crimes. Dealing with the Quartet as a detective story, reversing the narrative linear structure, and following the discourses of the event, the archive, and realms that are yet to come/the posthuman, reveal the scandalous superiority of the Eastern subject over the Western object which Scott dares not to say or avoids saying directly in the long course of his novels.


All quotations are taken from Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet (London: Arrow Books, 1966 rep. 2005). The four parts will be marked as: The Jewel in the Crown (JC); The Day of the Scorpion (DS); The Towers of Silence (TS); and A Division of the Spoils (ADS).
J.L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1962), 12.
Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1967 rep. 1997), 23.
Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoff Bennington & Brian Massumi (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1979 rep. 1987), viii.
Roland Barthes, S/Z, trans. Richard Miller(Oxford: Blackwell, 1973 rep. 2002), 5.
Radhika Mohanram, "White Sex: Rape and Race in Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet", in new literature review (nlr) (41, 2004), 65.
Jacques Derrida, "A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event", trans. Gila Walker, in Critical Inquiry (33, 2007), 441.
Ibid., 453.
Alain Badiou, "The Event in Deleuze", trans. John Roffe, in Parrhesia (2, 2007), 41.
10Lyotard, xi.
Jean-Francois Lyotard, "Re-Writing Modernity", in SubStance (16, 1987), 4.
12Derrida, "A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event",, 445.
13Ibid., 448.
14Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse on Language, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon Books, 1969 rep. 1972), 130.
15Roshini Kempadoo, Creole in the Archive: Imagery, Presence and the Location of the Caribbean Figure (London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016), 5.
16Jacques Derrida, "The Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression," in Diacritics (25, 1995), 9.
17Richard Dyer, White (London: Routledge, 1997), 1.
18Jacques Derrida, Of Hospitality, trans. Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 5.
19Chela Sandoval, "Theorizing White Consciousness for a Post-Empire World: Barthes, Fanon, and the Rhetoric of Love", in Displacing Whiteness: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism, ed. Ruth Frankenberg (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), 87.
20Roland Barthes, Mythologies, trans. Annette Lavers (London: Vintage Books, 1957 rep. 2009), 132.
21Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (London: The Athlone Press, 1968 rep. 1994), 277.
22Sabina Sawhney, "The Jewels in the Crotch: The Imperial Erotic in The Raj Quartet", Sexy Bodies: The strange carnalities of feminism, ed. Elizabeth Grosz and Elspeth Probyn (London: Routledge, 1995 rep. 2002), 196.
23Allen Boyer, "Love, Sex, and History in The Raj Quartet", Modern Language Quarterly (Duke University Press), 64.
24Foucault, 5.
25Ibid., 129.
26Donna J. Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century (Minnesota: Minnesota University Press, 2016), 7.
27Jacques Derrida, On Touching-Jean-Luc Nancy, trans. Christine Irizarry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992 rep. 2005), 7.





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