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Title: Unlayering history, body and landscape in the work of Jean Binta Breeze, Merle Collins, Marlene Nourbese Philip and Olive Senior
Author: Rodella, Milena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 0088
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2010
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The idea of history remains a central concern in Caribbean Literature and is often linked to the project of claiming identities and legitimating lives that were overlooked or demeaned by colonialism. This thesis examines the articulation of this thematic in the creative work of four contemporary Caribbean women writers: Jean Binta Breeze, Merle Coli ins, Marlene Nourbese Philip, and Olive Senior, from Grenada, Trinidad and Jamaica, respectively. Its argument is that these writers shape a poetic of the landscape that engages three main topics - history, the body and image-making - in order to imagine fuller histories and acts of belonging for Caribbean subjects. I borrow the term un layering from Marlene Nourbese Philip in order to explain the historical excavation and literary deconstruction that their work undertakes in order to gesture towards new connections between words, places and people in their island homes. Aware of the cultural specificity of Caribbean writings, my readings draw on the work of Caribbean critics and theorists, including Kamau Brathwaite, Michael Bucknor, Carolyn Cooper, Denise deCaires Narain, Edouard Glissant, Stuart Hall, Wilson Harris, Gordon Rohlehr, Antonio Benitez-Rojo and Derek Walcott. However, my methodology also explores points of intersection between the works of Western philosophers and cultural theorists and those of Caribbean writers and critics. I advance my argument alongside readings of non-Caribbean theorists ofhistoriography, genealogy, oral history (including Paul Ricoeur, Alain Badiou, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, Nathan Widder, JilIes Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Alessandro Portelli and Luisa Passerini), as well as feminist theorists working on the body and language (such as Judith Butler, Elizabeth Grosz, Kristeva, Melanie Klein, Luisa Muraro, Luce lrigaray), and deconstructive theory (such as Jacques Derrida, Gayatri C. Spivak and Rodolphe Gasche). Through detailed, comparative readings of these four authors works, the thesis examines how these writers test the limits of different generic forms (such as poetry, the short story, the novel, and the essay), as well as of an imposed colonial language, in order to rewrite Caribbean histories that are often personal, collective and environmental. Through their imaginative research into the past, their recovery of memories and their recuperation of neglected knowledge about their particular place and cultures, I argue that these writers all elaborate new images that craft the presence of history and offer an alternative archive to the colonial one.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available