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Title: The African-diasporic metaphysical female figure in the works of African-diasporic and Creole women writers
Author: Bristol, Brenda Melanie
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2006
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Arguments negating the role of the African-diasporic female metaphysical figure in the oral literature of the English-speaking Caribbean and America, hinge on the belief that these supernatural figures represent evil and that such representations disempower women. This thesis offers an alternative comparative analysis of two female metaphysical figures from the Caribbean, as well as two related supernatural figures from America. It explores the central role that the figures played in the formation of New World female subjectivity in slave societies and in the writing of contemporary African-diasporic and white Creole women writers. It focuses specifically on works by Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Jean Rhys, Paule Marshall and Jamaica Kincaid. This thesis is based on two premises; that the metaphysical figures are deitic in origin, therefore non-felicitous, non-essentialist and centrally ambivalent; and that the modernist, postmodernist and magic realist women writers under study, use the figures' non-totalising narratives to write back to the colonial Manichean allegory and to excavate closed periods of New World female history. After an investigation into the West African deitic progenitors of the female oral literary figures, this thesis investigates the representations of such figures in the early works of African-diasporic women writers. It then traces the sociopolitical reasons behind the figures' revision in the two regions under study. It explores the re-interpretations female writers from America and the Caribbean, award the figures, due to the formers' different historical, racial, and socio-political standpoints. Finally, this thesis proposes a framework for the analysis of African-diasporic and Creole women writers' work, based on the operations and interventions of the oral literary African-diasporic female metaphysical figure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral