The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature

The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature

The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature

The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature

Synopsis

The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature is an outstanding compilation of over seventy primary and secondary texts of writing from the Caribbean. Locating key writers within a specifically Caribbean framework, the editors Alison Donnell and Sarah Lawson Welsh demonstrate that these singular voices have emerged not out of a cultural void or sparse literary background, but out of a wealth of literary tradition which until now was unknown or critically neglected. Writers from 1900 to the present, both famous and less well-known, are given a voice in this remarkable anthology which encompasses poetry, short stories, essays, articles and interviews. Amongst the many represented here are: * C.L.R. James * George Lamming * Jean Rhys * Benjamin Zephaniah * Claude McKay * Jamaica Kincaid * Sylvia Wynter * Derek Walcott * David Dabydeen * Grace Nichols The editors provide an accessible historical and cultural introduction to the writings, making this volume an ideal teaching tool as well as a fascinating collection for anyone interested in the literature of the Caribbean.

Excerpt

Each editor of a Reader has different notions of what a Reader can be; in formulating the present Reader we have been guided by a strong awareness of the politics concerning the reception of Readers in the 1990s, and in particular by certain negative expectations. Readers are frequently viewed as 'short-circuit' mechanisms to navigate a literature, as textual packages which promise a spurious comprehensiveness but, in actuality, can dissuade readers from further exploratory reading. There is good sense in these objections and we share some of the frustrations at the limitations inherent in the Reader format. Working within the field of Caribbean literary studies, we have been especially concerned that the Reader could be perceived as a 'quick fix' sampling of the exotica of a marginal literature. However, working in this field has also convinced us of the value and potential of such a text. It is probably not surprising that publishers are reluctant to reissue entire works by writers who are little known and have been long out of print. A Reader in Caribbean literature can offer a valuable space for such material and therefore function not just cynically to 'feed' a market but importantly to lead a market.

The primary aim of this publication is to generate more readers of Caribbean literature and readers of more Caribbean literature. This Reader brings little-known texts to greater attention, but it also brings more familiar texts into a range of contexts which re-inflect their possible meanings. In this way, a Reader can be not merely recuperative but also re-evaluative-offering not only new texts but new critical configurations. It is our aim that this Reader will 'write in' those who have been 'written off' or 'written over', not as an act of prescriptive recuperation or counter-canonization, but as a way of generating new connections, new ways of reading and new notions of Caribbean literary praxis.

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