The thirteenth episode of Professor Ato Quayson’s vlog Critic.Reading.Writing is up!

Quayson explores Orientalist archetypes as colonial desires in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North.

Revisiting his discussion of Shakespeare’s Othello from Episode 11, Quayson guides readers through Mustafa Sa’eed’s transformation from simply performing as Othello, fulfilling the exotic fantasies of English women and conquering them sexually, to succumbing to the power of his own carefully woven narrative.

Quayson concludes his analysis of this enigmatic character with an in-depth tour of Mustafa Sa’eed’s expansive library, and a critique of Saeed’s own positionality based on his curated collection of literature. The professor explains,

At the end of the novel, we are ushered via the narrator into Mustafa Saeed’s library. There we see that he has firmly located himself within the Western archive, but also sought to critique it from the inside. As we browse the bookshelves along with the narrator, we see a long list of books from Gibbon, McAuley, Bernard Shaw, Maynard Keynes, Thomas Hardy, Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, Wittgenstein, Einstein, and many others down to the titles of his own books: The Economics of Colonialism by Mustafa Sa’eed, Colonialism and Monopoly by Mustafa Sa’eed, The Cross and Gunpowder by Mustafa Sa’eed, The Rape of Africa by Mustafa Sa’eed…For Mustafa Sa’eed, the contradictions are expressed at both the scholarly and personal levels, but it is at the level of sex and intimacy and through the interplay of Orientalist archetypes that his desire for self-authorship is finally undone.

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