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Title: Relocating the body : memory, ritual, and form in Caribbean literature
Author: Niblett, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0001 3445 7402
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis approaches the issue of form in the Caribbean novel from the perspective of the key role played by the body as an alternative repository of memory in the region. Whether in terms of the production of the wage-labourer under capitalism or the regulation and exploitation of the slave, the body was the locus of a series of power relations upon which colonialist/capitalist expansion hinged. Yet for the colonised, its connection to cultural practices such as vodun ritual meant that it served too as the amanuensis of an historical legacy denied 'legitimate' expression. Tracing the impact of the various material and ideological constraints imposed upon not only the body but also land and language from the time of slavery, the thesis explores how three writers in particular - Patrick Chamoiseau, Wilson Harris, and Earl Lovelace - have sought to integrate this embodied tradition in order to transform a body politic scarred by racial polarisation, underdevelopment, and victimhood. The thesis examines how the need for an original epic form able to express the complexity of the Caribbean's history requires are-visionary approach to memory. It suggests that the latter in tum requires the formulation of an original philosophy, one that, reflecting the admixture of cultures in the Caribbean, makes use of a diversity of intellectual traditions, including traditional African religion, to forge ontological and epistemological modes capable of conveying cross-cultural community. The incorporation of the insights provided by rituals based on ego-displacement, for example, contributes to a form that seeks to undo the consolidation of character and narrative, consuming or reritualising the past to release a new vision of the future. Moreover, the worldview behind this form offers a means to envisage the renewal of the national project and the transformation of the capitalist world system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PS American literature