Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, "History," and the Other

Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek

Post Colonial Literature in English: Canada

This abstract from the CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture appears with the kind permission of Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek. Copyright remains of course with the author and CLCWeb

In his article, "Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, 'History,' and the Other," Steven Tötösy discusses the historical background of Michael Ondaatje's novel, The English Patient (1992). The historical background and its analysis extend to selected aspects of Anthony Minghella's and Michael Ondaatje's adaptation of the novel to film (1996) and the ensuing controversy after the release of the film. From the historical background Tötösy designates as the "Almásy theme" of the novel and the film, he relates Ondaatje's engagement of the protagonist -- Central European Hungarian László Almásy -- to the notion of the Other as a historical and fictional concept. Tötösy argues that Ondaatje's particular rendition of the notion of the Other provides venues for a specific understanding of the historical background of the novel (the "real" Almásy) as well as its fictional presentation (the "Almásy theme"). The article also responds to the pronounced interest in the novel's and the film's protagonist and his "real" history, internationally evident after the release of the film in 1996.

Full text of this article.

Postcolonial Web India OV Canada Michael Ondaatje

Last modified: 14 May 2000