Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Synopsis

"Even when available elsewhere, information on these 50 English-language authors is sparse; the in-depth treatment here includes biography, description of major works and themes, summary of critical reception, and an exhaustive bibliography of works by and about each author. Both academic and public libraries will want to accept this invitation to another world." Library Journal

Excerpt

Sailors, saltfish merchants, displaced criminals, yellow-fever victims, slaves in the canefields, Maroons in the bush: such were the men and women who laid the foundations of Caribbean societies in the 16th and 17th centuries. From such groups emerge rumor and legend, but rarely a formal literature. Indeed, the literature of the Caribbean, like that of most colonial societies, passed through the usual stages, moving from apparent silence to assimilation, imitation, and apology, and on to innovation, affirmation, and transformation. Today it is possible to chart the movement of Caribbean literature, tracing it from the derivative writings of the 18th and 19th centuries--much of it composed by visitors to the region, all of it firmly Eurocentric--to the strikingly innovative art of a Derek Walcott or a Wilson Harris.

The beginnings of Caribbean literature lie hidden in the folklore of the plantation era and in the prim, condescending travelogues, the exotic novels, and the apparently naive slave narratives--often authored by Whites--that began to appear as early as the 18th century. (Helpful reviews of this early literature may be found in Anthony Boxill, "The Beginnings to 1929," in West Indian Literature, ed.Bruce King, 1979, pp. 30-44; and Edward Brathwaite, Creative Literature of the British West Indies During the Period of Slavery, Savacou 1 [June 1970], 46-73). Among the early writers, a few voices ring a prophetic note. Francis Williams, the classically educated Black poet of 18th century Jamaica, used conventional Augustan poetics to protest racism and assert the common humanity of mankind. The diction is of England, but the vision draws from Caribbean life. By the 19th century some Black poets (notably those of . . .

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