Allusion, Identity and. Community in Recent British Writing builds on an eclectic theoretical framework combining insights from literary stylistics and pragmatics, traditional rhetoríc, imagology and recent polítícal and phílosophícal debates about identity in order to show how allusion - literary or otherwise - can play a part in the construction of identity for the sake of self-presentation. Of particular interest is the way allusion may be used as a strategy by outsíders - fictional and real - when seeking to be admitted into different kinds of community, from literary élítes to national polities. Close readings of works by Salman Rushdie, Seamus Heaney, Caryl Phillips, Bridget O?Connor and Zadie Smith demonstrate allusion?s capacity to broker acceptance and generate empathy, to define models of identity and, in some cases, to backfire. By emphasízíng individual autonomy in the process of self-expression, Allusion, Identity and Community in Recent British Writing also redeems the subject from the more repressive régimes of over-deterministic theory, while ultimately claiming that the very difference which necessitates the negotiation of identity through such strategies as the deployment of allusion is also the basic precondition of communication and community building, two activities in which literature is inalienably engaged.