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One of the first difficulties in developing a wider comparative approach to the literatures has been that of finding an appropriate name to describe them. Some early attempts at a name which indicated the world-wide range of English writing never found general acceptance: for example, Joseph Jones’s word ‘terranglia’, which he employed to describe all writing in english throughout the world (Jones 1965). The term ‘Commonwealth literature’ which also emerged in the 1960s, although it secured much readier acceptance, nevertheless had geographical and political limitations. It rested purely on the fact of a shared history and the resulting political grouping. In its loosest form it remained a descriptive term for a collection of national literatures united by a past or present membership of the British Commonwealth. But through its relatively widespread acceptance it opened the way for more rigorous conceptions which also postulated a common condition across all former colonies. For a long while these existed, or coexisted, if sometimes uneasily, under the umbrella of ‘Commonwealth literature’.