'How can we responsibly and usefully read literatures from a variety of cultural positions? The metaphors of fractal geometry can help us conceptualize the complexity of the cultural situation of a text or an author in regard to social vectors such as race, gender, sexuality, and class. Readings of four texts from former British colonies - Nigeria, the United States, and Australia - give rise to a theory of reading that demonstrates the simultaneously colonized and colonializing position of texts from these former colonies. The dissertation brings together each of these four texts [Amos Tutuola's The Palm-Wine Drinkard; H.D.'s Helen in Egypt; Patrick White's Voss] with one of the major themes of postcolonial literature to demonstrate the postcoloniality of the texts (including, untraditionally, those from American authors). At the same time, the examination of these themes in these texts demonstrates the complexity of describing a text fully or accurately for the purposes of literary criticism.
...Patrick White's Voss deconstructs and reconstructs the national mythmaking venture of exploration through the settler's relationship to geography, land and mapmaking in order to represent his post-World War II nation.
These texts together give rise to a theory of reading postcolonial literature that shares responsibility between contextualization and thick description, between a close reading of the text and an accounting of the situatedness of that reading.'