Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History

Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History

Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History

Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History

Synopsis

Structured around readings of 'critical moments' in the literary history of the Anglophone Caribbean, this book examines: what it is that we read when we approach Caribbean Literature how it is that we read it and what critical, ideological and historical pressures may have shaped our choices and approaches. It is, then, in part a historiography of Caribbean literary history and criticism, and in part a supplement to that history. The author explores new textual peepholes, different critical approaches and alternative moments that allow us to re-examine the way in which twentieth-century Caribbean literature in English may be read and understood from a point at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In its discussions of the issues and debates about cultural politics, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, Twentieth-Century Caribbean Literature makes important interventions in the current configuration of Caribbean literary criticism and history.

Excerpt

Properly practiced, one might argue, criticism is a community’s mode of
remembering. It is a form of putting back together (re-membering) aspects
of our common life in ways that make visible what has been obscured, what
has been forgotten, what has disappeared from view.

(David Scott)

Sometimes you does have to start thinking all over again when you feel you
have things down the right way.

(Sam Selvon)

Perhaps the most important debates with which Caribbean writers have persistently engaged have been those concerning history – both the history of colonialism and the history of English Literature. Yet the history of Caribbean writing is rarely addressed as a subject of such struggle or contestation. This book is, in part, a historiography of Caribbean literary history and criticism and, in part, a supplement to that history which seeks to suggest new writers, texts and critical moments that might help to reconfigure the Caribbean tradition as more movable, divergent and unruly. It asks what it is that we read when we approach Caribbean literature, how it is that we read it, and what critical, ideological and historical pressures may have shaped our choices and approaches. It is concerned to explore how Anglophone or Anglocreole Caribbean literary histories have emerged and been legitimised at particular historical moments, as well as why and how we should read those texts and literary moments that no longer feed into the current set of critical demands?

The book is structured around readings of what I want to argue have been ‘critical’ moments in the literary history of the Anglocreole Caribbean. Three of the chapters offer strategic re-readings of naturalised critical paradigms and revisit the texts and writers neglected or dismissed by these dominant versions, and the final chapter suggests an alternative moment not yet documented. Throughout, the concern is to encourage new . . .

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