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Cricket and the World-System, or Continuity, “Riskless Risk” and Cyclicality in Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Apr 2016
DatePublished (current) - 20 Jul 2016
Issue number3
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)287-300
Original languageEnglish


In Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland (2008), cricket is the dominant thematic mechanism, and anchoring allegorical device, through which the novel encodes the capitalist world-system, including the ways in which structural continuity and “riskless risk” are glorified as the neo-liberal conditions for a cosmopolitan class of white international workers, in the face of, and directly at the expense of, their racialized, economic and cricketing “Other”. This encoding renders visible the “systemic cycles of accumulation” that characterize the history of capitalism. Yet the novel goes to extreme lengths to hold off, seemingly as perpetual delay, the failure-filled future consequences of its own leaked revelations. Hence, it is only by resituating Netherland in a world-systemic frame that critical sense can be made of Hans’s feigned cricketing bildung and the novel’s Dutch-English-American journey of cyclical continuity.

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    Research areas

  • Joseph O’Neill, Netherland, New York, continuity, cricket, risk, the British Empire, the Caribbean, the Dutch Republic, world-system

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