Postcolonial Narcissism, Cryptopolitics, and Hypnocritique

Brendon L Nicholls


This article offers a modified, situated psychoanalytic theoretical model for reading Dambudzo Marechera’s identity-performances and the narrative designs of his fiction. I argue for a narcissistic relation between Marechera and his work, positing a relationship between literary reading and the wishful self-transformations of a formerly colonized subject. I contend that Marechera’s fantasies of self were strategically canny responses to the available cultural narratives and to the larger politics of placement within which he found himself. Schematizing Marechera’s strategically canny responses in terms of his social and literary projects, I advance a theory of “cryptopolitics” and I delineate one of its primary modes, which I term “hypnocritique.”


Dambudzo Marechera; Psychoanalysis; African Literature

Full Text: